Asian community reflects on tragedy during Lunar New Year


Taylor McFarland, Reporter

BGSU’s Lunar New Year celebration comes just days after a mass shooting in Monterey Park, California where a gunman opened fire at a crowded ballroom dance studio as the city’s Asian American community was celebrating Lunar New Year weekend, according to CNN

The gunman, 72-year-old Huu Can Tran, was a man of Asian descent who killed 11 people and wounded nine others. 

Each of the victims were also of Asian descent, according to the LA County Medical Examiner

“I heard of it, and I tried not to think about it because I knew I was going to be a part of some sort of Lunar New Year celebration,” said Sylvia Nguyen, one of the performers at the BGSU event. “It’s tragic that people were celebrating a new beginning and they suddenly met an ending.”

Monterey Park is in the San Gabriel Valley in eastern Los Angeles County, which is known as a hub of Chinese, Taiwanese and Vietnamese American culture, The New Yorker said.

Minutes after the shooting, Tran walked into another ballroom dance studio in Alhambra with the intent to kill more people but was disarmed by Brandon Tsay, who was able to take control of the gun, pointed it at Tran and told him to leave, CNN said.

He was later found dead Sunday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a van in a mall parking lot after being pulled over by police, according to the LA Times

Nguyen said that the mass shooting did not affect her celebrating the new year and her performance at the event, but she knows that hate crimes will continue to exist toward Asian people.

“There will always be a possibility that something tragic could happen while we’re doing very cultural things,” she said. “I hope it will not, but I will not be surprised by it.”

BGSU student-run organizations and clubs came together for a Lunar New Year celebration Thursday, Jan. 26. The event took place in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. The Korean Culture Club, Vietnamese Student Association and Chinese Language and Culture Club collaborated in organizing the event which included food, performances and activities that are essential to Asian cultures.


“I think it went by faster than I thought it would,” said Quan Huynh Hieu Le, president of the Vietnamese Student Association. “It was fun. Everyone did their best.”

Hieu Le said organizers have been preparing for the Lunar New Year event for over three months. From dancing and singing to games and music, the new year was brought in with laughter, excitement and hope.