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Park renaming ceremony honors ‘Grandma Huang'; draws in San Francisco community

The renaming ceremony for a San Francisco park in Visitacion Valley, a place of tragedy for one family, took place late Saturday morning.

The park, now named Yik Oi Huang Peace and Friendship Park, hopes to bring healing and unity to the community.

The park, located off Leland Avenue, is now named after the woman affectionately known as “Grandma Huang.” She was beaten and left unconscious in the park back in 2019. She died a year later.

“We are very excited to unveil the new park name it was previously called visitacian valley playground, it was a place of tragic loss, my grandmother Yik Oi Huang was attacked here,” said Sasanna Yee, Grandma Huang’s granddaughter. “What we hope to bring is an infusion of good energy back to the park so hopefully folks can see that by us reclaiming this space we’re actually making it even better for the next generation

The event showcased music, a dragon dance performance and words from organizers.

Yee told NBC Bay Area earlier this week that every time she visits the park, she is filled with emotion.

“It’s painful to be in this spot,” she said. “When I come here, I acknowledge that spot. I talk to her sometimes, just asking what would she like to see at the park.”

Huang lived across the street from the park and was exercising that day when the attack happened. After her death, Yee turned her grief into activism.

“I didn’t want this, of course, but the work itself transformed me,” she said.

Yee had worked for years to rename the park in an effort to bring new energy to the area. Now, some residents say they hope the renaming will do just that.

“I think it does a lot for the healing because once you start educating people about the tragedy it could have been their grandmother, it could have been their aunty it could have been a cousin.” said Neo Veavea of San Francisco. “It’s a human life so, it does connect us all together.”

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