Dr. William "Bill" Chun-Hoon (1928 - 2019) was an educator and a community activist for the community of Chinatown in Los Angeles. Chun-Hoon was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and was the 12th child in a family of 15. In 1973, Dr. Chun-Hoon became the first Chinese American principal for the Los Angeles Unified School District, working at Castelar Elementary School in Los Angeles' Chinatown. Dr. Chun-Hoon was one of the pioneers of community schools and bilingual education to help serve the immigrant communities that came into the United States after the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, which helped bring over East Asians and, later, Southeast Asians after the Vietnam War. Dr. Chun-Hoon made Castelar School a hub for the community, creating space for community programs, a space for adult classes for parents, and pilot bilingual education programs in Spanish and Chinese. Dr. Chun-Hoon, as part of the Friends of the Chinatown Library, spearheaded the push for a local Los Angeles Public Library branch in Chinatown, first at Castelar Elementary and later at its current location on Hill and Ord Streets. Dr. Chun-Hoon is survived by his wife, two children, and four grandchildren.
During the 1970's and 1980's, Chun-Hoon hired teachers from diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds to support bilingual education and created adult literacy classes for parents and grandparents. Chun-Hoon’s efforts to build a community around Castelar Elementary also allowed community organizations such as the Chinese Historical Society, the Friends of the Chinese American Museum and the Chinatown Branch Library a way to congregate, organize and evolve.
William Chun-Hoon served on the California Community Colleges Board of Governors under Governor Jerry Brown. He was an active supporter of the Chinese Historical Society and a Director of the Friends of the Chinatown Library, where he was a member of its scholarship committee. In 2005, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Chinese American Museum.
- Visit the Chinatown Branch Library and visit the Chinese Heritage Collection.
- Explore the Garnier Building, the oldest building left of L.A.’s original Chinatown. It currently houses the Chinese American Museum.
- Visit the Los Angeles Public Library’s online exhibit "Stories and Voices from L.A. Chinatown," available at exhibits.lapl.org/chinatown.