Lunar New Year parties tinged with fear after Monterey Park shooting

The mass killing of 10 people after a Lunar New Year event in Monterey Park, Calif., a majority-Asian American suburb of Los Angeles, cast a dark cloud over what was supposed to be one of the most festive weekends of the year.

Asian Americans across the United States woke up to the horrific news out of California for the first day of Lunar New Year, reviving fears about hate crimes and reigniting questions about whether to venture into the public. 

“Even though it may not be hate-motivated, what we saw is our community members were targeted,” said Manjusha Kulkarni, co-founder of the Stop AAPI Hate advocacy group and executive director of AAPI Equity Alliance in Los Angeles. “They are very worried about going out to these celebrations and instead of being a day of joy and celebration and renewal, it’s instead fear, anxiety and tremendous trauma.”

When Kulkarni joined a call of other Asian American advocates and government officials Sunday, she said one participant said they would not celebrate New Year events and another found comfort in being out with the community after a tragedy.

Activists say the conflicting emotions about attending Lunar New Year events are not just about what happened in Monterey Park, but are part of a years-long reckoning with what it means to be Asian in America.

Read more at Washington Post