SEATTLE — Celebrations marking the Lunar New Year went on Sunday as planned in Seattle. However, the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, is being felt by those part of the Asian American community in Western Washington.
“The reason why this is so devastating is because this is supposed to be a joyous day,” Tanya Woo, a long-time community leader and business owner, said. “It’s also considered bad luck to talk about shootings or deaths on this day.”
For that reason, Woo says many people will avoid discussing the mass shooting which left 10 people dead and 10 others wounded. It took place at a dance studio near a Lunar New Year Celebration in Monterey Park, which is seven miles east of Los Angeles.
While a motive is not known at this time, many in the Asian American community are on guard because of the increased attacks and hate as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate said than 9,000 anti-Asian hate incidents were reported to them between March 2020 and June 2021.
Woo says she’s experienced some of that hate herself while putting together protests.
"Someone was posting that they were going to come down to the rally and give us something to rally about and we better go back to our country. It's just ridiculous,” she said.
Woo says attacks on the AAPI community, especially shootings, bring back memories of the Wah Mee Massacre for those old enough to remember it. It happened in 1983 in the Chintatown-International District. 14 people were shot, and 13 died. It remains Washington’s deadliest mass shooting.
As many people continue to celebrate Sunday and in the days ahead, Woo believes they will have a renewed sense of why they’re getting together.
“I think that's what we have to remember, hold your loved ones closer and how important family is,” she said. “This kind of adds a somber tone but makes us treasure each other more."