San Jose residents held a candlelight vigil over the weekend to remember those killed in recent mass shootings across the state.
About 40 people gathered at City Hall Sunday night to honor these individuals, many Asian Americans, killed in mass shootings last week in East Oakland, Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park, a community outside Los Angeles. The Asian Law Alliance, which provides legal counseling, community education and community organizing, led the vigil.
“These tragedies affect all of us,” Leika La Roque, community organizer with the Asian Law Alliance, told San José Spotlight. “We needed to have this moment when the community could be brought together… and remind ourselves that we aren’t alone in our grief and our pain.”
On Jan. 21, a gunman killed 10 people and injured 10 others at a dance studio in Monterey Park during a Lunar New Year’s Eve celebration. The 72-year-old shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A mass shooting in Oakland on Jan. 23, which killed one person and injured seven, came hours after a shooting in Half Moon Bay where seven people were killed and one was injured. The 66-year-old shooter is in custody. Police are still trying to determine who was involved in the Oakland incident.
In January alone, 40 mass shootings have claimed 73 lives in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive website, an independent research group that collects such data.
“It’s really mind-numbing, one (shooting) after another,” Richard Konda, executive director of the Asian Law Alliance, told San José Spotlight. “Everyone is traumatized by these kinds of incidents. I think it’s important to create a space for people to come together, share and offer each other some comfort and solace.”
Margaret Petros, executive director of Mothers Against Murder, a nonprofit advocate for families of murder victims, said the shootings are devastating for families and friends of the victims.
“All I’m doing is thinking about the family members and what they’re going through,” she said. “How much help and crisis intervention they’re getting.”
Therese Santiago, community engagement coordinator for the Asian Law Alliance, said there’s no easy way to respond to the unprecedented number of shootings, and however anyone is feeling about what happened is valid. She said the organization wants everyone to take care of themselves mentally and emotionally.
“Self-care and being with community is really what’s most important as we move forward day by day,” she told San José Spotlight. “If the number of shootings we’ve had in the past month alone is any indication, this is a problem that is not likely to go away, so it’s more important than ever that we all work communally and stick together to move forward.”
The Asian Law Alliance is offering a community care session on Wednesday, Feb. 1 from 6-7 p.m. to help people through their grief and pain following the shootings.
Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected]
Leave a Reply