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Monterey Park weighs extending emergency declaration to assemble post-shooting relief strategy

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Monterey Park, still jolted by the Star Dance Studio attack that left 11 of its residents dead, will consider a motion to extend the city’s state of emergency spurred by the deadly assault, at a special City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Approval would clear the city manager to execute an executive order to direct the California Community Foundation to administer the distribution of donated funds. The city manager can take additional, related action toward aiding the community.

Coverage of Monterey Park mass shooting 

Aid has been flowing into the city since the news of the Jan. 21 massacre became public, city officials said. “The outpouring of support from federal, state, local and private sources has been overwhelmingly appreciated by the City Council and City administration,” the resolution reads. “Additionally, persons all over the world have donated funds to assist with victims, their families, and other persons suffering.”

But the organizing and distribution of the relief dollars will be a mammoth task. City officials know they will need help.

“The City does not currently have the resources to administer the collection and distribution of donations,” the motion reads. “Based upon the amounts already received, it is anticipated that significant time and effort will be needed to ensure that these funds are fairly and expeditiously distributed to those who need them.”

Related: What we know about the Monterey Park mass shooting a week later

If approved, the relief efforts will be shared with Asian American Advancing Justice Southern California through the creation of the  “Monterey Park Victim and Family Support Fund” — or The MPK Support Fund, for short.

The emergency effort aligns with the survey collection facilitated by Monterey Park’s office of Economic Development. The office is collecting data of business who need financial aid during the downturn of business following the tragedy.

The public may attend the meeting, scheduled in the City Council chambers beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, or watch the meeting live on the city’s cable channel MPKTV (AT&T U-verse, channel 99 or Charter Communications, channel 182) or by visiting the city’s website atwww.montereypark.ca.gov/133/City-Council-Meeting-Videos.

How to help victims of the Monterey Park attack 

Buddhist blessing planned

That same night, a gathering of monks and nuns hope that their ceremony will soothe the ache left behind by the Monterey Park killings — for both the living and the dead.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the memorial behind Star Dance Studio, Dharma Drum Mountain Los Angeles Center will lead mourners through a peaceful Chan Buddhist blessing.

Resident nun Chang Ju explained that the chanting of the heart sutra is important for the grieving process as it allows the lost souls to let go anger, hatred and attachment to the body. Chan Buddhism emphasizes meditation and intuition. They also believe in life after death, and so this also encourages them to move on to their new lives.

“When we talk about liberation, it is not something physical but very much (in) the mind,” Ju said, “By listening to the words of wisdom you (also) help the living people have freedom of the mind.”

Ju recalled attending the city’s vigil after a gunman had killed 11 seniors. She was touched by the community coming together. This ceremony serves a parallel purpose, she said, and everyone from any faith or belief is welcome to join.

DDMLA monks will also lead visitors in chanting “Amituofo,”  the name of Amitabha, the Buddha of the Western Pure Land. This is one of the five Cosmic Buddhas of Esoteric Buddhism. For Ju, the recitation is an effective tool to focus the mind in times of anxiety.

“If you cannot really follow (the teacher) just relax and listen,” Ju said. “By just relaxing and listening, (people) will be able to attain the calm in the body and to be able to relax the body. It is a soothing thing to hear.”

More information about the ceremony can be found at www.ddmbala.org or @compassionsgv on Instagram.

As of Monday, details of any public memorial service or individual funerals were not yet known.

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