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Community Love For Monterey Park After Tragedy

An Asian American man burns incense at an altar set up for victims outside Monterey Park City Hall.
Wilson Kyi burns incense at an altar set up for victims outside Monterey Park City Hall.
(Josie Huang
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For many people around the nation, the first time they heard of Monterey Park was a little over a week ago when a gunman went inside a popular dance studio and killed 11 people and injured 9 others.

Monterey Park Is Home

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But the Monterey Park community know this city as so much more. My colleague Josie Huang has been grinding and hustling these past 12 days reporting on this tragedy and how it has impacted the larger Asian American Pacific Islander community.

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She spoke with Monterey Park residents like May Paolim about what this place means to Asian Americans and their immigrant parents. After all, this was the first city in the U.S. to have an Asian majority.

For Paolim, it’s where her parents decided to start their lives in America after moving from China in the 1970s. The couple represented just two of the thousands of Chinese and other AAPI immigrants who moved to Monterey Park for better opportunities. Several immigrants made what was first a foreign place into a home, through ballroom dancing, food and cultural events.

Jason Y. Lee attended a candlelight vigil after the shootings and told Josie something that stuck with me. He said:

“It’s funny, growing up in a very majority-white state, I think you do so much to hide your identity as an Asian American. Coming to somewhere like [Monterey Park], you start to recognize how special your culture is, and how proud you are to be Asian American.”

Read Josie's whole story here. And for more insight into how people are coming together and healing after this tragedy, listen to the How to LA podcast. Host Brian De Los Santos talks to community members across the San Gabriel Valley about how they are processing their grief. And Josie joins NPR’s Code Switch for a special episode about the history of Monterey Park. Take a listen — you won’t regret it.

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

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

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  • And just cause we can’t plug our people enough, tune in online tonight to hear HTLA host Brian De Los Santos and LAist food writer Gab Chabrán talk about what’s good in Downtown L.A. food.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

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Wait... One More Thing

An Angeleno Teen Shares Her Family's Chilaquiles Recipe

A dish with two fried eggs on top of tortillas chips smothered with salsa roja and cheese and onion
A plate of chilaquiles
(David Rodriguez
LAist )

Our friends at KQED in the Bay Area have been working on something pretty special — middle and high school students from across the country have been submitting podcasts, short videos, and writing to their Youth Media Showcase. It’s all about what this next generation of trendsetters have to say about the challenges we face in our society.

We wanted to share with you one local student’s submission that jumped out to us breakfast lovers here at LAist — Angelica Chavez in La Puente submitted her family’s recipe for chilaquiles. Not only does her recipe look delicious, but it also addresses the age-old dilemma: how can you enjoy salsa roja (or maybe its salsa verde?) in your chilaquiles without making them soggy? Nice work, Angelica!

Do you have a young Angeleno in your life that might like to submit their own project? Read more about participating here!

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