January 24, 2023
Dear SPS Community,
With very heavy hearts we once again wish to share our deepest sympathies as well as information about supports available in the wake of not one but two mass shootings and a third shooting at a school in Iowa.
On Saturday, what should have been a joyful celebration of the Lunar New Year turned into a horrific attack at a dance hall in Monterey Park, CA, with the majority of the victims – at least 11 fatalities and multiple injuries – being members of the local Asian American community. Before we could finish preparing this statement, news also broke of a shooting at an Iowa school that took two student lives and seriously injured a teacher. And before we could translate and send this statement, a second mass shooting occurred in California killing at least seven at two worksites, with early reports indicating victims were Chinese and Latino farmworkers.
We are beyond frustrated, angry, and sad, but we will once again come together as a community to support our friends and loved ones and point to resources that you or someone you know may need in the wake of these tragedies.
It is important to know that shootings can traumatize and re-traumatize persons no matter how far away. We also want to recognize that the details and motives behind these shootings are not yet clear. But with the rise in hate crimes in our nation, fear of targeted, racist violence understandably can course through communities as the facts are awaited. Even if other motives are eventually revealed, that fear is real and comes with real consequences for well-being.
Our sympathies thus go out first to the friends and families of the victims but also especially here at home to Somerville’s Asian and Asian American residents; to our students, families, and staff in our school community; and to migrants, immigrants, workers, and any others who may feel more personal reactions to these attacks.
Please reach out to friends and family if you need to talk. Or take advantage of crisis call lines if you wish to speak to volunteers trained to listen and provide support.
The Samaritans statewide 24/7 phone or chat crisis line can take calls in up to 240 different languages. They can be reached by calling or texting just three numbers: 988. Calls are free, confidential, and anonymous.
We stand against all violence, and we join all people across our nation in grieving these terrible losses.
With sympathy and solidarity,
Mayor Katjana Ballantyne
Ben Ewen-Campen, President, Somerville City Council
Andre Green, Chairperson, Somerville School Committee
Dr. Jeff Curley, Interim Superintendent of Schools