AAPILC Recognizes One Year Anniversary of Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park Mass Shootings 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                              MEDIA CONTACT

January 23, 2024                                                                 Isa Whalen, Isa.Whalen@sen.ca.gov 

                                                                                             Lucy Khuu, Lucy.Khuu@asm.ca.gov 

AAPILC Recognizes One Year Anniversary of Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park Mass Shootings 

SACRAMENTO, CA — On January 21, 2024, the cities of Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay held remembrance ceremonies, marking the one year anniversaries of two devastating mass shootings. Both events included a vigil for community healing, candlelight ceremonies, and speeches in honor of the lives lost.  

On January 21, 2023, a gunman entered a dance studio during a Lunar New Year Celebration in Monterey Park, killing 11 people, all of whom identified as Asian American or Pacific Islander. Only two days later, on January 23, 2023, seven farm workers, of  Latino and Chinese descent, were killed in a mass shooting at two different farms off Highway 92 in Half Moon Bay. 

The Half Moon Bay One-Year Remembrance Ceremony was held at the Boys and Girls Club Event Center this past Sunday, January 21, 2024. Led by Joaquin Jiminez, the ceremony was attended by numerous federal, state, and local leaders, including Assemblymember Phil Ting, as well as community members and interfaith leaders. The City concluded the night with the announcement of a permanent memorial to be built to honor the lives that were lost. 

“While attending the Half Moon Bay ceremony, it was heartbreaking to see the devastating impacts of a senseless tragedy. I’ve tirelessly pursued policies to end gun violence, so that we can all be safer. In addition, as Assembly Budget Chair last year, I successfully advocated for millions of dollars to strengthen resources for the community, including farmworker housing. We can honor the victims and survivors by continuing this work. We must do more for California,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). 

The Monterey Park ceremony was held at Monterey Park City Hall, and included several speakers: Kristenne Reidy, who lost her father in the mass shooting, and Brandon Tsay, whose family owned the Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio. Tsay was the individual who bravely fought back and disarmed the shooter, saving the lives of staff and customers who were still inside the studio. 

“Our Monterey Park community continues to show its strength and resilience, as we honored all those impacted by the devastating event that took place last year,” said Assemblymember Mike Fong (D-Alhambra), who attended the ceremony this past Sunday and represents the city of Monterey Park. “The candlelight vigil served as a reminder of not only the unimaginable loss to our community, but also of our collective responsibility to provide continued support to the victims and their families.” 

The California Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus (AAPILC) recognizes the importance of these remembrance ceremonies to not only honor the lives lost in mass violence against the AAPI and Latino communities, but to additionally provide a space for community members to feel safe and heard in their demands for equity and protection. Last year, on January 23, 2023, the AAPILC held a vigil at the State Capitol, honoring the victims of the Monterey Park mass shooting and highlighting the significance of policies that combat systemic inequities and hate. 

Both of these mass shootings painfully demonstrate the increase of violence and discrimination against the AAPI community. A report from Stop AAPI Hate published in May 2023, revealed that 49% of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide experienced discrimination or treatment that could be classified as illegal.

On the morning of January 21, 2024, President Joe Biden released a statement addressing the one year anniversary of both mass shootings, including a call for gun control: “In the wake of tragic shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, California has also taken action, passing more than 20 new gun safety laws and investing in proven solutions like gun violence intervention programs. Other states should follow their lead.” 

The timing of the shootings coinciding with Lunar New Year celebrations is devastating for the AAPI community; however, the AAPILC encourages the community to embrace the spirit of the Lunar New Year as a time to bring our families and communities together, especially amongst hardship and loss, to welcome the new year in solidarity and with well wishes.

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The California Asian American and Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus serves to represent and advocate for the interests of the AAPI community, including increasing AAPI representation and participation at all levels of government.

Website of the California AAPI Legislative Caucus: https://aapilegcaucus.legislature.ca.gov