President Biden's Visit To Monterey Park Comes Amid Demand For Action On Mass Shootings
Fonda Quan keeps replaying the night a gunman killed her aunt Mymy Nhan outside Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park before going inside to attack other dancers.
In between grieving the loss of the aunt she considered a second mother, Quan has been grasping for ways the shooting could have been prevented. Gun laws could always be stricter, she reasons. But as someone who grew up post-Sandy Hook, she’s too familiar with the national gridlock on guns.
When President Biden holds an event in Monterey Park Tuesday to call for tighter gun control, Quan plans to attend and, if she gets a chance, share with him the need for swifter action.
Haunted by her aunt's death, Quan’s family now avoids densely-packed places.
- What You Should Know About President Biden's Visit To Monterey Park
- The White House details: "New Actions to Reduce Gun Violence"
“They're actively not eating at a restaurant as often,” said Quan, a software product manager. ”They would make an extra mile or two to get to a supermarket that isn't as crowded or has a lot more space to maneuver.”
A call for more 'eyes' at events
A shorter-term strategy that Quan wishes could be quickly adopted is convincing local businesses to post security at large gatherings — not necessarily armed guards, she said, but people designated to be on the lookout.
Quan noted that after the shooter fired on the Star Dance studio, he tried attacking a second ballroom dance studio in neighboring Alhambra but was disarmed there by Brandon Tsay, whose family owns the business. Quan wonders what would have happened if there had been someone like Tsay, who was unarmed, watching the door at Star Dance.
“I think just a physical presence of someone else could have prevented the mass shooting,” she said.
Hannah Wong, a community activist in Monterey Park who lives blocks from where the shooting took place, has also been thinking about ways to boost community safety. Rather than increase police presence or security officers at local businesses, however, she envisions community volunteers offering to be “eyes out” at events.
A call for action beyond gun control
Wong added she hopes Biden’s visit will spotlight measures other than gun control. For many Californians, who live with the most gun laws of any state, Biden will be preaching to the choir. Wong said he should spotlight the importance of mental health resources that are culturally-specific and incorporate older Americans.
She said in the Asian community, elders may need access to in-language services and extra help overcoming the stigma of getting counseling.
Wong drew from her own experience with her family, in which older relatives don't address the trauma they’ve experienced or how the effects of that trauma are passed down to younger generations.
“Generational trauma is something that is not really talked about,” Wong, 23, said. “I think they just don't have the language, or the knowledge of what it means to have … mental health issues.“
Monterey Park will join Uvalde, Tex., as another place Biden will have visited after a mass shooting to call for gun reforms. Vice President Kamala Harris came to Monterey Park in January and met with victims’ families.
Resources for the AAPI community
- The Chinatown Service Center's behavioral health team is offering on call support at: 213-808-1700
- The Chinatown Service Center and City of Monterey Park will offer drop-in, multilingual counseling services on select days through Feb. 3 at Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library:
318 S. Ramona Ave.
- The Asian Mental Health Collective has a U.S. therapist directory with professionals who specialize in serving the AAPI community.
- AMHC also has a range of free mental health support groups.
- The AAPI Equity Alliance has put together a resource directory for those in need of trauma support
- NAMI California’s list of AAPI mental health resources
- The Asians For Mental Health Therapist Directory
- The California Victims Compensation Board reimburses mental health services for victims and their families.
- Changing Tides, part of the Little Tokyo Service Center, offers stipends for AAPI youth seeking therapy. (https://thechangingtides.org/)
Anthony Lowe was shot and killed by Huntington Park police on Jan. 26. 'Thank goodness that we’re in the era of videos,' said the family attorney as they file a federal civil rights lawsuit
In a memo, Chief Michel Moore said “extremist groups have hijacked the use of the ‘Thin Blue Line Flag’ to symbolize their undemocratic, racist, and bigoted views.”
LAPD Chief Moore also questioned officers' actions in the fatal shooting of Takar Smith, although not in two other fatal incidents.
In a conversation with LAist, the new sheriff acknowledges that, as an outsider, "I have my work cut out for me" in winning the support of the department's rank-and-file.
He was elected in 2018 after running as a progressive Democrat who would reform the department. He ended up fiercely resisting oversight and clashing with watchdogs and the rest of the county’s political establishment.