This is not the email we wanted to send. With the start of the Lunar New Year, we were anticipating celebrating the Year of the Water Rabbit with a message of optimism and joy.
Instead, we join millions around the country mourning the tragic and horrible loss of life in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay. With more than two dozen members of the Chinese American community killed or injured, CAA not only sends our condolences but is organizing to identify and get help to those who are hurting.
While important details are still emerging, we also confront the reality that the AAPI community is not immune to the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.
With our cultural holidays added to the list of everyday activities impacted by mass shootings, it is worth noting that in the first month of the calendar year alone, our country has already endured 39 mass shootings.
This is a crisis that affects all of us.
Last summer, CAA and allies organized the first national gathering of Asian American and gun violence prevention advocates to better understand what we can do together. We learned that though gun ownership in the AAPI community in the U.S. has been historically low, many became first-time gun owners during the pandemic and are inadvertently putting themselves and their loved ones at risk. We discussed the need to better engage marginalized communities, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and those with limited-English proficiency, into a range of national efforts to reduce gun violence. And we began to explore what else must be done to hold our lawmakers accountable when they prioritize the interests of gun manufacturers over common sense safety.
In short, there is much work to be done, and it will require us as a community getting involved.
These last few days have been filled with grief and mourning. May there be comfort that this has always been a time for our community to come together and that we can come together to help one another heal, and to escalate our demands for peace and safety for all.
Cynthia Choi Vincent Pan
Co-Executive Director Co-Executive Director