Los Angeles youth activists hold vigil after Monterey Park shooting

Following the series of mass shootings in recent days, young activists gathered near the steps of Los Angeles City Hall on Saturday evening to express their frustration and anger at the lack of action to end the armed violence.

The names of the victims of the Monterey Park shooting were posted on pieces of white paper that decorated a makeshift scene. And fresh among them were three “unknown” victims of a fatal shooting in Benedict Canyon on Saturday morning.

Young activists, including organizers of the March for Our Lives in Los Angeles, came together to honor the victims of the Monterey Park shooting last week that left 11 dead. Since that shooting, seven more people have been killed in another shooting in Half Moon Bay.

Anna Pham, a 16-year-old junior from Murrieta Valley High School and co-organizer of the March for Our Lives Los Angeles chapter, shared her frustration with a small crowd.

“Just seven days ago, 11 lives were lost. Six days ago, seven more. … And 12 hours ago – only 12 hours ago – three more,” Anna said. “But when is it time to systematically change the whole of an issue that is slowly writing our death sentence?”

After the 2018 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, March for Our Lives began organizing youth across the country. Shekinah Deocares, 25, said politicians who continue to receive money from the National Rifle Assn. failed to put lives before money.

“These lives are in your hands,” Deocares said. “This blood is on your hands, and your inaction will no longer be tolerated.”

Sim Bilal, 21, Korean and black, said he felt a sense of loss after the shooting in Monterey Park.

“It was one of the safest places in this country to raise a family, and that hope, that fragile little bubble where you thought you were safe, where you thought your kids were safe, where you thought your grandparents were safe. …You thought it was sacred, [only] to be shattered and shattered by a bullet,” Bilal said.

Although turnout was low, organizers felt it was important to remind the community that mass shootings continue to occur at an alarming rate.

“Across the country we see this happening,” said 20-year-old Victor Shi. “In 2023 alone, let this sink in: there has been more than 40 mass shootings in the first 25 days of January. And it’s hard to understand, and I know it can be numbing, I know it can be exhausting. I know how tiring it can be. But we can’t let this become the new normal.

Los Angeles Times

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