City vigil for victims of Monterey Park mass shooting honors those who dance in the sky – Orange County Register

Several hundred people gathered Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Monterey Park City Hall for prayers and a city-organized candlelight vigil to commemorate the 11 victims of Saturday’s mass shooting at a dance studio that shocked the community has. It was the second vigil at this location in two days after a Monday night.

Mourners and speakers gathered near a memorial outside the building, which has grown in the days since the shooting. A bulletin board nearby was filled with handwritten messages of sadness and heartache.

“To all those dancing in heaven and their families, our prayers are with you,” read a message.

Some participants were still trying to come to terms with what had happened.

“I’m feeling really emotional,” said Amy Lie, a longtime resident of Monterey Park. “I just can’t believe something like this could happen to our peaceful community.”

Local officials spoke and smoke from prayer candles filled the air as people paid their respects. Prayers were said by local pastors in Taiwanese, Cantonese and other languages ​​to bring comfort to the close-knit community.”

City council member Yvonne Yiu said she cried for the past two days after learning that Ming Wei Ma, the owner of Star Ballroom & Dance Studio and the first person who rushed the suspect during the shooting, had been killed.

“I’ve known Teacher Ma for a long time,” Yiu said. “We sang and danced together”

A White House staffer also read a message from President Joe Biden at the event.

“Jill and I keep in our hearts the people of Monterey Park and the LA area after the deadly mass shooting pierced the nation and our souls,” Biden said in the message. “I can say nothing that can fill the void of those who are no longer with us.”

Another vigil was held at the dance studio Tuesday night, becoming the third vigil in two days for victims of the shooting. It was organized by the ANSWER Coalition.

There, a collection of flowers and candles continued to grow outside the studio throughout the evening as around 50 parishioners gathered to pay their respects.

Organizers began the evening by reading aloud the names of the 11 victims and citing the heroic efforts of Brandon Tsay, who disarmed the gunman at the Lai Lai Ballroom and Dance Studio in Alhambra.

Then the microphone was offered to members of the community to voice their thoughts, share their grievances and find support in a hurting community.

Monterey Park resident Maia Go said it was incredibly difficult to process the tragedy but encouraged others to “just feel their feelings.”

“I think we’ll be able to heal over time, and at the end of the day, these acts of violence don’t speak to our larger community,” Go said.

Other residents shared feelings that they would not allow the shooting to define their community.

“We never thought that this type of tragedy would happen here and now the whole country has thrown the spotlight on us in our time of mourning,” said Julie Ngo, 24. “We are a community rich in Asian- American history and now it’s time we put ourselves back in the spotlight and show that Monterey Park is so much more than this tragedy,” Ngo said.

Some residents took the opportunity to raise awareness of what they described as a lack of mental health awareness in the Asian American Pacific Islander community.

A resident, Dan Hsu, 36, said the shooter was “a sick, sick man.”

“But we have to ask ourselves what was going through his mind, what kind of abuse he had to endure in his life,” he said. “Mental health is so often ignored in the Asian community and we need to recognize that there are many more unstable people out there whose signs are being ignored.”

Compassion in SGV, a San Gabriel Valley volunteer organization, is planning another vigil Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the dance studio. The event will “commemorate, honor and mourn and condemn gun violence for the tragic victims of the Monterey Park mass shooting,” Compassion said in SGV on social media.

https://www.ocregister.com/2023/01/24/citys-vigil-for-monterey-park-mass-shooting-victims-honors-those-dancing-in-heaven/ City vigil for victims of Monterey Park mass shooting honors those who dance in the sky – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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