SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus (AAPILC) held a vigil outside the State Capitol in Sacramento to stand in solidarity with the grieving families from the Monterey Park mass shooting.
This was the first year California recognized Lunar New Year as a state holiday. It started off as a day of celebration, which suddenly became tragic when a gunman killed 11 people and injured eight at a dance studio hosting a Lunar New Year party.
“We do not yet know the suspect’s motivation, but no matter what, we must get guns off the streets,” said Assembly member Mike Fong, who represents Monterey Park.
Fong attended Lunar New Year festivities in Monterey Park just hours before the shooting.
“Tens of thousands of people gathered for the dawn of the New Year — The Year of the Rabbit — and the rabbit symbolizes hope and peace,” Fong said. “And to have that shattered late Saturday night in a moment’s notice is truly tragic.”
On Monday’s Assembly Floor session, Fong called for a moment of silence to honor the lives of the 11 people killed.
Assembly member Evan Low, the Chair of the AAPILC, says the vigil was a space to give people time to grieve, and also serve as motivation to keep fighting to end gun violence.
“We provide an opportunity to demonstrate incredible solidarity. We will then use this incredible energy, to not just be words, but to take this into action,” Low said.
Low called for action on the proliferation of firearms in Californian communities.
“We are not even finished with the first month in January and yet there have been over 34 major incidents with respect to mass shooting — and we haven’t even completed that calendar. This is unacceptable and we must take the action necessary,” Low said.
California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. State Senator Susan Rubio emphasized now is the time for other states to step up.
“It is true that we have the strongest protections, but we can’t do it alone, so it’s time that our federal partners unanimously value the lives of children, adults and any community in the United States. We need to stand together and say ‘No more,’” Rubio said.
While his community is still grieving, Fong knows Monterey Park will persevere through this tragedy.
“Monterey Park is a strong city, it’s a resilient city — the communities of the San Gabriel Valley are strong and resilient and it’s going to take days, months and even years to come as we continue to heal from the trauma that’s been inflicted by this incident,” Fong said.
The city of Monterey Park is holding a vigil on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, where a memorial honoring the victims and the survivors has already been established.
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