Monterey Park, CA
In the aftermath of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio shooting in Monterey Park, Classroom of Compassion, a Los Angeles-based arts nonprofit, mobilized to create an onsite public memorial space honoring the eleven victims.
My Nhan, 65, Ming Wei Ma, 72, Diana Tom, 70, Xiujuan Yu, 57, Lilian Li, 63, Valentino Alvero, 68, Muoi Ung, 67, Hong Jian, 62, Yu Kao, 72, Chia Yau, 76, Wen Yu, 64
Eleven white wooden altars, adorned with fresh flowers and featuring a life-sized photo of the eleven victims, transformed the parking lot of Star Ballroom Dance Studio into a sea of flowers, candles, chalk messages, and notes of remembrance. Classroom of Compassion dedicated one altar to each of the eleven victims, offering a heartfelt tribute to the memory and stories of those lost.
As the one-year anniversary approaches, Classroom of Compassion reflects on the time spent during the month-long community memorial space. They invite the community to visit, ClassroomofCompassion.com/MessagesToMontereyPark where a collection of messages of communal support were shared onsite at the memorial are now available for public viewing.
Co-founder David Maldonado explains, “Classroom of Compassion’s foundation is anchored in honoring those lost in mass shootings across the country and creating memorials. These memorials are intended to provide the impacted community an opportunity to process difficult emotions together in a shared space. We believe that having a tangible, communal place to turn to during these challenging times can help construct deeply healing connections with our community and our grief.”
The Monterey Park memorial space hosted a diverse array of mourning rituals from different cultures worldwide. From Buddhist ceremonies to candlelight vigils, funeral processions to presidential visits, the memorial space provided an open, shared area where individuals could begin processing the complex emotions of grief, loss, and fear caused by this shooting. Southern California residents were encouraged to visit the memorial site and leave written messages of condolence or hope for the community. Mourners actively contributed to the growth of the space with their hand-written messages, reflecting the powerful support of the community. Tens of thousands of visitors from across Southern California stopped by the memorial to pay their respects, emphasizing the profound impact of this communal initiative.
Since their time in Monterey Park in January of 2023, Classroom of Compassion has traveled to four other cities creating similar memorial spaces for the communities of: Las Vegas, NV; Jacksonville, FL; Trabuco Canyon, CA; and Nashville, TN. Additionally, since their work began in 2019, they’ve traveled to 14 cities across the country for tragedies such as Robb Elementary in Uvalde, TX and Club Q in Colorado Springs, CO.
Classroom of Compassion has created more than 15 of these memorial sites around the United States, continuously fostering healing and support for communities impacted by mass gun violence. To be a part of this compassionate initiative and help create more memorial spaces across the country, please consider making a donation today. Your support enables the Classroom of Compassion to continue their vital work, bringing healing connections to communities nationwide. Your contribution can make a meaningful difference in honoring the memory of victims and providing solace to affected communities.
Visit www.classroomofcompassion.com to donate and learn more about how you can contribute to honoring the importance of communal healing following these tragedies.