RAFU STAFF REPORT
A GoFundMe for victims of the Jan. 21 Monterey Park shooting has raised more than $700,000 as Asian Americans grapple with the horrifying loss of life in two separate mass shooting incidents.
In Monterey Park, a 72-year-old gunman shot up a dance hall in an Asian American community that had been celebrating Lunar New Year’s Eve on Saturday night, wounding nine people in addition to the 11 killed. The gunman, identified as Huu Can Tran, was found Sunday in a white van in Torrance, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The victims have been identified: My My Nhan, 65; Lilan Li, 63; Xiujuan Yu, 57; Muoi Dai Ung, 67; Hongying Jian, 62; Diana Man Ling Tom, 70; Yu Lun Kao, 72; Chia Ling Yau, 76; Valentino Marcos Alvero, 68; Wen Tau Yu, 64; and Ming Wei Ma, 72. Ma was the owner of the dance studio and also a popular instructor there.
In Northern California, a gunman killed seven people at mushroom farms in Half Moon Bay on Tuesday. News reports at present indicate that the latest victims are farm workers of Asian and Latino descent.
Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed fatigue and frustration with mass shootings.
“I can’t keep doing them,” he told reporters earlier Monday in Monterey Park. “Saying the same thing over and over and over again, it’s insane.”
“I started writing in ‘Monterey Park,’” Newsom said. “And now I gotta write in ‘Half Moon Bay.’ What the hell is going on?”
In a statement on Tuesday, Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition addressing anti-Asian racism across the U.S., stated that these incidents compounded trauma that many Asian Americans have experienced over the past three years since the start of the COVID pandemic. Stop AAPI Hate has documented more than 11,000 incidents of hate targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay are the latest incidents in California in which both shooter and victims were Asian. On May 15, 2022, 68-year-old David Chou of Las Vegas killed one person and wounded five others at the Geneva Presbyterian Church, a Taiwanese American church in Laguna Woods.
“After nearly three years of attacks targeting the Asian American community, these shocking incidents have compounded the pain, fear and trauma that so many of us are feeling across California and across the country,” Stop AAPI Hate said. “We have long dealt with multiple forms of hate and violence, coming from outside, within and among our communities, and the identity of the shooters in both of these recent massacres does not and should not delegitimize or diminish our pain and fear.
“We don’t know the motivations behind these shootings, and we may never know. But unfettered access to guns turned both of these acts of violence into massacres.”
The shootings have also focused attention on the issue of mental health. According to a 2015 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Asian Americans are least likely to get mental health treatment compared to Americans of other racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Reasons include language issues, a lack of culturally relevant and integrated care, cultural stigmas attached to seeking mental health assistance, cost and other systemic barriers.
In response to the shootings, the AAPI Equity Alliance has compiled a list of resources, which it is updating daily, for community members, offering mental health, legal and other services. The guide is offered in multiple Asian languages including Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and Tagalog.
“Hearing news like this day in and day out is infuriating – we know that all too well, but we also know that the AAPI community is certainly not alone in facing it. We invite you to take this time to hold your loved ones close; reaffirm in the values of love, inclusion and acceptance; and to recommit to the fight against senseless violence, hate and discrimination,” AAPI Equity Alliance stated.
To access victim support resources, or contribute to the GoFundMe account for victims of the Monterey Park shooting, visit: aapiequityalliance.org/support-for-monterey-park/