‘We were terrified’: Houston area Lunar New Year celebrations to continue with added security after mass shooting in California

HOUSTON – The Chinese Community Center’s Lunar New Year Festival takes months of planning.

“It was a day full of activities and cultural performances,” Chi-Mei Lin, CEO of the Chinese Community Center said. “That was just such a happy day for us, and then when we went home, we got the news.”

Another mass shooting. This time in Monterey Park, California after a Lunar New Year celebration.

“We were terrified,” said State Rep. Gene Wu of D-Houston.

Wu said the image of violence during a time dedicated to peace and togetherness is difficult to digest.

“The Asian American population is already in fear from all the anti-Asian hate and everything else,” he said. “This is the most important holiday for all Asian American communities. This is a time of family and togetherness.”

Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Lesley Briones represents one of the highest Asian-populated areas in the county.

“A time of celebration,” she said. “The year of the rabbit, a year of peace and prosperity and health. To have yet another mass shooting affect our country is just unacceptable.”

Lin, the CEO of the Chinese Community Center, said she immediately reached out to Chinese leaders in the Monterey Park area.

“We talk about how his agency, the Chinatown Service Agency, had to send a trauma team with a behavioral specialist to talk to the community.”

Lin said more mental health outreach in the Chinese community is needed.

“We even have a phrase,” she said. “We say, ‘if you have problems, keep it in the family because it’s losing face if you share with other people.’ That is something we really need to tear down.”

She said the center will be going door to door and checking on their senior population. She said they are also planning to provide more mental health services.

“We need to know how to care for our people in the community,” Lin said.

Leaders said local Lunar New Year celebrations will continue with added security.

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