Delivered at January 24, 2023 Board Meeting.
Over the weekend, we woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. This time the shooting occurred about ten miles from this very building in the neighboring Monterey Park community. One in which more than 65% of the population identifies as being of Asian descent. On the eve of Lunar New Year, a holiday that is celebrated by many in the Asian American community, a gunman stormed into a dance hall where people were gathered and took the lives of ten individuals and injured ten others. One of whom succumbed to injuries on Monday, bringing the death toll to 11. Our hearts are with the families of the victims and their loved ones experiencing loss during this time of tragedy.
For this to happen so close to home makes this even more shocking. We have staff members who live in or near the community of Monterey Park, as well as those who may have friends or family who live there. But whether or not we personally know someone in that community, for something like this to occur so close to home hits us hard. There are simply no words. During the Lunar New Year season, the Asian American and Pacific Islander community should be ushering in a prosperous, healthy, and safe new year. Instead we find ourselves mourning the aftermath of another senseless act of gun violence. There are nearly 1900 employees of Asian descent at LADWP, and this board stands with each and every one of you. We know that this occurrence has sadly become too familiar, and yet always more painful than the last. LADWP is an extended family, and at times like this, we want to reaffirm our values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for human dignity. This Lunar New Year reminds us of the importance of unity and how much stronger we are in numbers. I urge all of us to stand together against hate, violence, ignorance, and, yes, bigotry in any form.
I want to recognize one of our many department resource groups. LADWP ASPIRE, which was founded to bring together employees who identify as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander and their allies, and is dedicated to advancing, fostering, and upholding a workplace culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Both LADWP and ASPIRE have resources available if anyone needs support during this difficult time. Let’s take this time to reach out to our colleagues, our friends, and our family who are having a hard time processing this tragedy, and let’s show one another the love and care that is sorely needed at this time. Thank you for allowing us to express our both condolences and ally-ship during this difficult moment.