By Damali Robertson January 23, 2023
On Saturday, January 21st, another mass shooting took place in Monterey Park, California. Monterey Park is a city east of Los Angeles. Then, two days later, as I was writing this post, another mass shooting took place in Half Moon Bay, California and then another in Oakland. Between these three tragedies, 19 people have been killed, and countless families are left to make meaning of another violent act.
According to the New York Times, there have already been 39 mass shootings in 2023. The year has just begun and there have already been 39 mass shootings. I’m still letting that sink in.
Since beginning my role at CIIS in August 2021, I have written at least three other reflections about mass shootings. Each time I do, the collective and individual sadness is palpable. Each time this happens, communities like Monterey Park, Half Moon Bay, and Oakland are involuntarily thrust into unexpected grief and loss. Each time this happens individuals and families are left to mourn the unexpected transitions of their loved ones.
This time, we grieve with the Asian American community of Monterey Park and with the Asian and Asian American communities at CIIS, and all the members of our community who are feeling the weight of this tragedy. We also grieve with the farm workers and migrant communities in Half Moon Bay and every person impacted by this tragedy. We grieve with the families in Oakland.
In Monterey Park, 11 people celebrating Lunar New Year were taken in an act of violence that has become all too commonplace in the United States. While the details are still unfolding, we have learned the names of two of the victims: My Mhan, 65 years old, and Lilan Li, 63 years old. Media outlets are reporting the remaining victims are in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.
In Half Moon Bay, 7 people of Asian and Latinx descent were killed on local farms. The victims have been reported to be migrant farmworkers. The United Farm Workers union said in a statement it was mourning the loss of the seven farmworkers killed in the attacks, adding it was “heartbroken, angry, and demanding answers.”
In Oakland, 1 person, Mario Navarro, who was only 18 years old, was killed and at least 7 others were injured when a shooting started at a gas station. Witnesses reported that the violence occured during the filming of a music video.
At the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we recognize the magnitude of these mass shootings for the Asian and Asian American communities in Monterey Park, the Asian, Latinx, and migrant communities in Half Moon Bay, the community of Oakland, in surrounding California communities, and around the country.
Words are never enough to capture the grief you are experiencing. However, we want you to know, we stand with you.
If you would like to support the families in Half Moon Bay, make a gift to one of these community-based organizations (shared by a member of the Half Moon Bay community):
If you want to learn more about ending gun violence, visit https://www.everytown.org or https://www.bradyunited.org