Some Lunar New Year celebrations go ahead, despite Monterey Park mass shooting

As the community reels from Saturday night’s mass shooting in Monterey Park, which left 10 people dead and at least 10 injured, some event organizers are still planning to go ahead with Lunar New Year celebrations.

Rancho Cucamonga Lunar Festival will take place Sunday, Jan. 22, as will next week’s Riverside Lunar Festival. Panana Events, the organizer of both events, is coordinating with city officials and law enforcement to enhance security.

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Eric Luan, president of Panana Events, added that it was important that celebrations continue to “stop Asian hate” and for “AAPI groups to show their culture and community.” Celebrating Lunar New Year is a way to instill traditions and a love of their heritage in the next generation, he said.

Sunday morning, Westminster’s annual Tet parade took place with extra precautions such as increased public safety personnel and undercover security, City Manager Christine Cordon said. In her opening remarks she said, “Our hearts go out to the community of Monterey Park. It was such a senseless attack” adding that “we can’t stop our community from celebrating such an important day.”

Jeff Liou, 44, a resident of San Gabriel Valley close to where the shooting took place said that celebrations will continue but he hopes that people “will hold other families, especially the victims’ families in our hearts as we continue to celebrate.”

A special Mass scheduled to mark Lunar New Year Sunday, Jan. 22, in Chinatown also took place at the Los Angeles Archdiocese with Archbishop José H. Gomez addressing the tragedy during his homily. In a statement released Saturday night Gomez said he was “praying for the victims of this violence” as well as their loved ones.

However, some organizations canceled events in light of the deadly mass shooting. USC Pacific Asia Museum canceled its Lunar New Year festival scheduled for Saturday, with the university sharing a hotline number for students who might need support. Citadel Outlets also canceled festivities. They said in a statement, “We’ve increased security and have established heightened safety protocols for those who come to the center today to shop.”

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May Lee, founder of Lotus Media House and an adjunct professor at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, said that for some Asian Americans community members will celebrate as a way to say “enough” because of the spike in anti-Asian hate in the last three years, regardless of the motive of last night’s shooting.

“We are not going to live in fear, we are not going to hide, we are not going to stay silent,” Lee said. “We are not going to let violence and hate dictate our lives and our identity.”

Lee added that the enhanced security measures at community celebrations are an indicator that the Asian American community needs to stay vigilant.

Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations in the Chinese and Vietnamese zodiac calendars, marking the beginning of spring. Celebrations usually last multiple days.

This is a developing story. Check back for more information.

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