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San Diego's AAPI community holds town hall after Monterey Park mass shooting

By Natalie Chuck,


Members of San Diego's Asian American and Pacific Islander community filled a room as they aired their concerns around violent crime.

The meeting was quickly organized after the Monterey Park mass shooting claimed 11 lives on Lunar New Year weekend.

"This just doesn’t happen in the Chinese community,” said Cassandra Wong, the Principal at the Chinese School of San Diego.

She and more than a dozen others attended a town hall for the AAPI community to address mental health on Sunday afternoon.

One woman who attended the event owns a Thai restaurant in Poway, Takhrai Thai, which has been broken into several times since 2020.

“The first one came during quarantine, so it was a time of insecurity for everyone," said Natasha Mar, the owner's daughter.

Mayor Todd Gloria said San Diego's overall crime rate dropped last year, but hate crimes specifically increased by about 65%.

According to Stop AAPI Hate, the number of hate crimes reported to them increased from 2020 to 2021.

"I don't know that I have all the answers. I wish I did," said Wong when she was asked what will prevent violent crimes like the one in Monterey Park.

Many of the community members agreed that tackling mental health in America is the most important step to preventing mass shootings.

“Attack the roots of these problems, so like, what people are thinking, like what they’re thinking before performing these actions," said Mar.

Another AAPI town hall is expected to take place at the Chinese School of San Diego, but the date has not been set at this point.

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