The scene from a vigil at State and Anapamu in March 2021. | Credit: Courtesy

The mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay this January scarred Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities around California, bringing tragedy to what was meant to be a celebratory time for welcoming in the Lunar New Year. This Sunday, February 26, at 1 p.m., members of SB AAPI Solidarity Network, volunteers with the Santa Barbara Chapter of Moms Demand Action, and community members will gather at the corner of State and Anapamu streets to honor the lives lost to January’s tragic events. 

“These two mass shootings were shocking and devastating,” said Juliet Velarde Betita, a SB AAPI Solidarity Network committee member. “Our elders shooting our elders has brought us to the forefront of gun violence and mental health concerns. We need to address both in our Asian American and Pacific Islanders communities. We come together at this gathering to mourn and take action.”

Although California has some of the strongest gun laws in the country, thousands of people in California die every year due to gun-related injuries. Sunday’s vigil is planned to be an opportunity to grieve through cultural ceremonies, and offer data-driven solutions for preventing further tragedies. Santa Barbara activists and officials will be present to speak about the impact of January’s events and bring critical awareness to gun violence in the United States.


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