SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Amid the glittering skyscrapers of downtown San Francisco, music and candles met the pain in Portsmouth Square Thursday night, where dozens gathered to remember the victims of mass shooting in Half Moon Bay AND Monterey Park.
“We ran out of candles. We could have tripled the amount of candles. I’m shocked at how many people were touched enough to come out and spend the evening with us,” said Lily Ho.
Ho, with the Delta Chinatown Initiative, was one of the organizers of the vigil.
She says the shootings, which are extremely rare in the Asian community, have shaken her to the core and come at a time of heightened anxiety.
“I think the trauma in our community has come to a boiling point for some of these individuals. We’ve been through years of anti-Asian hate, senseless violence,” Ho said.
But Thursday’s vigil was about more than just remembering the lives lost. It was also a chance to discuss difficult topics such as trauma and mental health.
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Josephine Zhao tells me those topics are often taboo within AAPI communities.
Zhao says she has worked for years to help remove the stigma that is prevalent in her culture.
She believes that by doing so, she will help more people fight their inner demons and prevent more tragedies from happening.
“Basically, things we want to sweep under the carpet. We don’t want anyone to know. If there’s any quarrel or disagreement within the family, it’s ugly for the family and we don’t want it to spread,” Zhao said.
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But for many here, the grief has only just begun.
“The Asian community is already suffering, so just physically being here and being in everyone’s presence already puts me in a little better mood,” Jade Tu said.
A process that will require everyone, one step at a time.
“From our friends, families and communities. It’s only when we become vulnerable and start sharing how we feel and how I feel inside and what kind of help I need that other people know how to give me the help I needed,” said Zhao. .
ACT: Resources for people affected by the mass shooting in Half Moon Bay
Get the latest in the deadly Half Moon Bay shooting here.
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