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After Shooting, Providing For The Mental Health Needs Of Affected Communities

A man places a candle at a makeshift memorial during a nighttime candlelight vigil
A candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting was held Monday night in front of the City Hall in Monterey Park.
(Frederic J. Brown
/
AFP via Getty Images)
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It’s been a heavy past few days as more and more details are revealed about the Monterey Park shooting. We are starting to learn the names and about the lives of the victims, who were mostly in their 60s and 70s. We know that an 11th victim died in the LAC+USC Medical Center yesterday. And we now have some additional insight into who the shooter was.

Mental Health Support For The Monterey Park Community

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In the wake of this incident, my colleague Robert Garrova is following how one coalition is trying to provide mental health resources for elders in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The AAPI Equity Alliance group is trying to figure out how they can close the gaps when it comes to services for Asian and Asian American seniors, who may be reluctant or unsure of how to ask for help.

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Robert talked to Myron Quon, the CEO of Pacific Asian Counseling Services and board member for AAPI Equity Alliance.

“We worry so much about serving our Asian seniors because they don’t speak English well. And even those who speak English well don’t want to go to mainstream services because they don’t understand the culture,” Quon said.

I talked to Daniel Ichinose, a research director at OC Action, an Orange County-based organization that promotes civic engagement among AAPI and Latino communities. He’s done demographic research on Asian and Asian American communities in the U.S. and said there’s still significant stigma attached to the issue of mental health.

“An incident like this can serve to raise the visibility of those issues in our communities and hopefully stimulate some conversation,” Ichinose said. “I think there's been some progress in terms of the community's openness to discussing these kinds of issues, but, you know, we still have a long way to go."

For more, read Robert’s brief and check out our resources listed on the website.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

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Wait... One More Thing

The Star Dance Studio: 'Center Of The Happiness'

An Asian couple glides across a dance floor. In the background, an Asian man and woman are singing karaoke in front of a yellow curtain. Other people sit at a table eating.
Couples who frequented Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park celebrate the Lunar New Year, dancing, at a Burbank restaurant
(Mariana Dale
/
LAist)

Before Saturday night’s shooting, the Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park was a place of joy, a place where the older immigrants and longtime community members gathered together and danced their hearts out, doing the tango or the samba.

So, for my must-read pick of the week, I want to focus on them. The grandparents, the aunties and uncles. The senior citizens that found happiness with dancing. The ones who use ballroom dancing as an effort to stay young and free.

My colleague Mariana Dale spent time in a Burbank restaurant on Sunday where several of the Star Dance social dancers convened to celebrate the Lunar New Year. There, husband and wife, Rick and Perin Price, twirled among friends in L.A.’s Thai community. The couple hadn’t been to Star Dance since New Year’s Eve, they told Mariana, but it’s a place they frequented.

Perin Price is devastated about the shooting that has so far taken 11 lives but is resolved to not let the incident keep her down. “It hurt my feelings that it happened to that group of people,” Price said. “But no matter what, it will not stop us from dancing. I mean, that's just our life.”

Social organizer and dancer Pashree Silapee said the Star Dance Studio served as such an important place for that community. If it closes, Silape said, "It's gonna hurt the society, because we use that as the center of the happiness.”

Read the rest of Mariana’s story here.

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