Lunar New Year – Celebration, Mourning, and the Need for Change

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Dear friends and colleagues,

Sunday, January 22, was the beginning of the Lunar New Year.  Lunar New Year is celebrated in multiple communities across the Asian Diaspora starting on the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar.  While each culture has its own traditions, unifying components include prioritizing time to connect with family, honor ancestors, share gifts and food, and celebrate the new possibilities of the new year.  Bay Area Legal Aid joins with many in our Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American (APIDA) communities in celebrating the Lunar New Year and the year of the Rabbit.  We extend our wishes for a new year filled with good fortune, health, and happiness for all our colleagues, partners, and the APIDA communities with whom we work.

Unfortunately, as we celebrate the dawn of a new year, we mourn with the Monterey Park, California community and our APIDA siblings who were directly and indirectly impacted by another mass shooting this weekend that resulted in the loss of at least 11 lives and even more physical and mental injuries. Our hearts go out to all who lost their lives, lost loved ones, were injured, and all whose basic sense and fundamental right to feel safe was shattered.  In the time since we first drafted this statement, at least 8 more lives have been lost in mass shootings in California in Half Moon Bay and Oakland. We share in the outrage over continued inaction to address the proliferation of guns, gun violence and structural violence. We share in the anger over this country’s failure to address its violent and oppressive history that has allowed patriarchal, racist, internalized racist, and US imperialist ideals to fester and fuel such hateful acts as the one on Sunday.

We all need change now and we stand in community and action for that change.  Bay Area Legal Aid is committed to fighting for the protection of our APIDA, women, LGBTQIA+, and other BIPOC siblings.  We are committed to fighting until the oppressive systems lose and all our communities win.  We are committed to fighting for a new year filled with new possibilities and opportunities for all.

In solidarity,

Genevieve Richardson, Executive Director

Mynesha Whyte, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Manager