Multiple shootings within the last three days in California interrupted the state’s very first year recognizing Lunar New Year as an official state holiday. This historic designation was meant to “acknowledge the diversity and cultural significance Asian Americans bring to California,” but has instead been overwhelmed with violence and grief. Stand with Asian Americans (SwAA) mourns the victims of Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, and grieves with their loved ones and their communities that have been torn apart by gun violence.
After these horrific crimes, the vast number of lives lost, and the years of heightened racism, hate and fear, Asian Americans are experiencing immense and complex pain. For thousands of years, Lunar New Year has been a celebration of not only happiness and luck, but also for coming together, and the Year of the Rabbit can symbolize healing. To feel our communities wrenched apart at this moment, repeatedly, we are angry, blindsided and shattered. These moments can feel like chaos and can leave us feeling hopeless.
What we need in these moments is community and support. The mental, emotional and psychological health of each one of us is critical to our collective health and ability to move forward, together. There have long been obstacles to seeking emotional support in the Asian American community, whether they are cultural norms, language access issues or a lack of resources – and now is a moment to break down those barriers. For those of us, myself included, who have worked to manage our own trauma and depression, this is a moment to speak out, speak loudly and show others different ways they can seek help. We must work with our community leaders and elected officials to ensure there are victim and survivor services, mental health resources, language access, and fully funded community organizations.
This is also a moment to share our stories and experiences. Part of our organization’s work is giving Asian Americans a platform to share their experiences and build networks, not only for advocacy, but for healing. We can still honor Lunar New Year as a moment of togetherness by building even stronger connections in our community and fighting for support. Listen to what you are feeling and listen to others. Seek out the stories of those who are mourning and offer comfort where you can. Tell the stories of your experiences as an Asian American. We are stronger together, and we will continue to stand together.
If you would like to find a way to support Monterey Park, SwAA has joined a coalition of local AAPI-serving community-based organizations to launch the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Victims’ Fund. All donations will go to supporting the individuals suffering from this senseless violence. We hope you’ll join us. In the coming days, SwAA will also announce ways to support impacted families and loved ones in Half Moon Bay.
It will take time to heal, but we can heal, so long as we keep in memory those we’ve lost, for it is in their memory we are able to move forward stronger in solidarity.
In solidarity and love,
Justin, Dave, Eric, and Wendy
About Stand with Asian Americans (SwAA)
Stand with Asian Americans (SwAA) is an all-volunteer organization made up of leaders across business, media, nonprofit, technology and policy. In March 2021, we formed SwAA and published an Open Letter in the WSJ pledging our commitment to elevate the AAPI community in response to the rising anti-Asian hate. 100% of your donation goes to strategic initiatives like the ones above.