OAKLAND — When the names were read aloud, it seemed like every ear leaned forward to hear the sound of a responding bell.
“We will read the names,” Oakland City Church Community Rev. Carl Pascual said, as fellow faith community leaders Peter Chang and Harry Bridge held bells to ring.
“The names we read, you may not recognize them. A face may not come to you. Yet we acknowledge that each one of these are children of our creator with a spirit. And if it’s grace to you, as we read the names, and as you hear the chime ring out, you can lift that person’s spirit up in your spirit, blessing them, and asking for peace to come upon their families.”
In a crowd of several hundred people Wednesday at Chinatown’s Wilma Chan Park, the names and bells filled the empty courtyard and surrounding streets, marking the grievous losses in the wake of mass shootings Sunday at a Monterey Park dance hall and Monday at a Half Moon Bay farm and an East Oakland gas station.
A chorus of speakers from Oakland API Unite, an array of more than two dozen organizations serving multiple communities, joined with city council members and residents to push back against those losses’ silence by expressing righteous witness and renewing resolve to serve needs.
“We’re here to mourn and remember the victims that had their lives taken,” Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce president and PIVOT executive director Dr. Jennifer Tran said, acknowledging the location formerly known as Madison Park as “a place that’s really special for many residents across our city and across our region.”
Tran said she felt struck to the core that “during a time of celebration, a time that we are preparing our minds and our hearts and our homes for hope, prosperity and new beginnings, we awaken up to such tragic news.”
But she said people needed to push back against apathy and indifference: “We have to fight back the instinct that this is the new norm. […] In this moment where everyone is devastated and heartbroken, we need to heal, we need to share resources on how we can improve the situation.”
Speakers who followed shared their grief, passion, anger and resolve with crowd members who laid flowers, lit incense and shared tears and prayers before a long row of pictures and names.
Oakland City Council president Nikki Fortunato Bas, whose district includes Wilma Chan Park, said the …
Source:: East Bay – Entertainment