‘This is absolutely horrible:’ Local Asian American community reacts to mass shooting

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 4:54 PM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - It was the first day of the Lunar New Year over the weekend, but this year it started off on a somber note.

Venus Sun is the Senior Director of Culture and Community Engagement for the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Northwest Portland. She said she learned about the shooting that morning before they kicked off their Lunar New Year Celebration. The shooting did weigh on people’s minds, but Sun said they wanted to continue with their festivities.

“There’s a sense of comfort to knowing what we do is really important and we must keep on going,” Sun said.

Saturday night, a man walked into a dance club in Monterey Park, Calif., and as guests were celebrating the Lunar New Year, he gunned downed nearly one dozen people.

“Saying from the bottom of my heart, this is absolutely horrible,” Sun said.

SEE ALSO: Official: 7 killed in California community; suspect arrested

The gunman was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a van more than 20 miles away. Monterey Park is in Los Angeles County and is home to a majority Asian population. The Lunar New Year is considered the most important holiday in many Asian cultures, so this shooting not only impacted a community in California but Asian Americans all around the country.

“I really do think that we’re going to do everything we can to support our own communities but at the same time to open our door and make sure everybody can remember this moment,” Sun said. “For people who do celebrate the lunar new year, they find a sense of belonging here.”

The Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon sent FOX a statement:

“It is with heavy hearts that we share this message of solidarity and deepest condolences with the Monterey Park and greater Asian American communities. What was meant to be a weekend of celebration to ring in the Lunar New Year has instead been one of mourning and confusion.

At APANO, we believe in the inherent value of life, recognizing that each and every individual is worthy of love, respect, and a sense of safety. The tragic events that took place last weekend are counter to all that we believe, and we know the impact on our communities is great.

In 2023 alone, the U.S. has experienced more than 36 mass shootings – more than any year on record. (Source: Gun Violence Archive) Far too many in our communities are injured or killed each and every year. While we await further details around the specifics of the shooting, we know our stance will remain the same: we will continue to care for one another and work to bring an end to these needless tragedies.

Though we are a state away, we are with the families and friends of those lost to this senseless act of gun violence. We are with Oregonians who have been affected by this or other needless acts of brutality. We will heal together as a community and welcome any and all to join us as we work to rid our communities of such violent actions.

If you feel so moved, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ) Southern California, Stop AAPI Hate, and many more have come together to organize a fundraiser to support victims. All proceeds will go to the many individuals suffering from this senseless violence. Find more information and make a contribution here. "

Oregon Rises Above Hate also sent a statement:

“Acts of mass violence seek to undermine our places of joy and community, whether it is a Lunar New Year celebration, a nightclub, a movie theater, or a school. They undermine our sense of safety in expressing ourselves collectively and redefine simple joys as experiences of suffering. But we will not be defined as victims of hate. None of us are our worst moments as victims. We need those wrongs to be acknowledged, to be understood, and to be actively redressed. But they are not the only things that matter. Take time to seek out Lunar New Year celebrations now and cultural events throughout the year that show the richness of our AANHPI heritage and what we have contributed and continue to contribute to this country. Embrace your fellow Americans.

We send all our hope and love to the survivors of the attack in Monterey Park and the loved ones who face this new year without family members and friends. It has become too common that Americans must face this daunting task, but they do not face it alone. Only together can hate be overcome. Only together can we, as a nation and individuals, begin to heal from its devastating consequences.”

Sun said the Lan Su Chinese Garden will have a moment of silence at 5 p.m. on Thursday, the first public Lantern Viewing evening.