After shooting, Monterey Park looks to one another for healing


In Monterey Park, people spoke of togetherness and resilience as the way to heal from the largest mass shooting this year.

That teamwork was evident at the city’s Langley Senior Center, where Sgt. Bing Han, who has been on the force for two decades, was called in on his day off. Normally, he would be visiting his parents and in-laws on this first day of the Lunar New Year. Instead, he’s helping at the facility, which has been turned into a trauma center to help victims’ families and anyone else needing counseling.

Why We Wrote This

Monterey Park, California, has overcome division and tragedy before, residents say. After Saturday’s mass shooting, they are resolved to rely on one another to do so again.

People are “stunned and shocked,” says Rep. Judy Chu, who has lived here for 37 years. At the same time, she says, “We’re a resilient community.”

Perhaps that comes from its history. In the mid-’70s, a local real estate developer advertised Monterey Park – just a 20-minute drive from Los Angeles’ Chinatown – as “the Chinese Beverly Hills.” In the decades that followed, the city became America’s “first suburban Chinatown.” It also became a cauldron of tension over English-first issues and discrimination.

Today, Sergeant Han describes Monterey Park as a “quiet” place, where “people feel safe walking their dog at nighttime.”

On the eve of Lunar New Year, FX was enjoying celebratory dumplings at the fellowship hall at Christ Lutheran Church in Monterey Park, where he sings in the choir.

The young man, who emigrated from China about 10 years ago, lives alone. The meal, attended by singles at the church, was a stand-in for the traditional meal that many Chinese, Vietnamese, and other families prepare to start their most important holiday of the year.

But that night, after more than 100,000 people thronged downtown Monterey Park at a happy street festival, celebration turned to tragedy – a mass shooting at a nearby ballroom dance studio that left 11 people dead and another nine wounded. FX, a computer worker who asked to be identified by his initials, was up all night. He lives just blocks from the incident, and a hovering helicopter kept him awake. So did his fears. The shooting was just so close. The suspect was still at large.

Why We Wrote This

Monterey Park, California, has overcome division and tragedy before, residents say. After Saturday’s mass shooting, they are resolved to rely on one another to do so again.

When he arrived at church for the English-language service the next morning, he was too anxious to sing. But a few members gathered around, hugging him and praying for him. “We told him: We can overcome this together. We know God’s love,” says John Fan, a longtime member of the church, where most congregants speak Chinese.

By mid-morning, the two men were practicing as a duo, accompanied by acoustic guitar and piano. At one point, Mr. Fan placed his arm around the shoulders of the young man. At the second service, FX was doing better and actually led the congregation in singing. “I’m still afraid,” he admits after the service. But he also feels the love of others: “Church is family.”



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *