Security concerns in Seattle sparked by deadly Lunar New Year shooting in California

A deadly mass shooting in southern California sparked security concerns in Seattle at Sunday afternoon’s Lunar New Year celebration on Pier 62.

Still, those concerns did not prevent a large crowd from showing up.

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There was actually a very good turnout, organizers said, especially compared to last year.

But some ` 7 talked to say they decided they wouldn’t let what happened in California keep them away.

It looked for all the world like the usual, picturesque start to a new lunar year.

But there is a pall at this, the start of the Year of the Rabbit, because of the deadly California shooting on the eve of the new lunar year. The violence brought back bad memories for some.

“I was personally like told, of all places around Green Lake, that I belong in a coffin,” said Luiz Yamamoto of Seattle. “Yeah, they told me Asians belong in a coffin.”

“Oh, yes,” said Kimberly Kniffen of Seattle when asked whether she, too, had been discriminated against because of her race. “Just being denied entrance to places because of what I look like.”

The violence made it difficult for some others to speak.

“But you know, I have Asian friends here,” said Jolene Kreling of Seattle. “I’m getting choked up and I can’t talk. Well, of course, it has affected me very much.”

The same can be said for the organizers of the Lunar New Year celebration on Pier 62.

“We definitely pivoted some of our security measures to make sure this is a safe place for people to celebrate,” said Yoon Kang-O’Higgins.

She is the director of public programs for Friends of the Waterfront. Kang-O’Higgins says that pivot meant working to tighten security in visible and non-visible ways, for safety’s sake.

“We are committed to creating a space where people do feel safe, that they belong,” said Kang-O’Higgins, “and that these celebrations can still happen in a way that brings joy, that these things can happen, that it won ‘t make us stop doing the work that we are doing.”

To be sure, some people didn’t want to talk about the shooting. Wanting, they said, to keep this a day of celebration and joy at the start of the Year of the Rabbit. Nonetheless, this Lunar New Year has begun tragically.

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