[Progress News] [Progress OpenEdge ABL] More Tragedy and Our Response

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MeiLani Dumont

Very recently, I was selected as a co-leader for one of Progress’ Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). This ERG, called ASPIRE, stands for Asian & Pacific Islanders Resource for Employees. I am deeply honored to have this opportunity and will greatly enjoy learning more about all the different Asian cultures this group represents. As I begin making lots of exciting plans in this role for 2023, and more specifically as I make plans for Chinese New Year, I am immediately faced with the challenge of addressing the Monterey Park tragedy with our ASPIRE members. To make matters worse, while writing this message on Monterey Park, another shooting in Half Moon Bay has taken even more lives.

On Saturday, January 21, a gunman opened fire in a ballroom dance hall located in a very active Asian community in Monterey Park, Los Angeles, CA, killing 11. On Tuesday, January 24, a gunman opened fire in two separate locations in Half Moon Bay, CA, murdering seven people of Asian and Hispanic descent.

While still onboarding for this role, my leadership skills are put to the test and I’m at a loss. What meaningful words can I say to bring a sense of comfort and safety against tragedies so horrific and senseless?

I can only think of the questions. Why do these things continue to happen? Why do innocent people have to worry about dying at the hands of a someone who is angry and hateful, when they step out into their own communities or go to work? Why are there people who do not value life? Just why? My heart hurts for the victims. Last Saturday, 11 people lost their lives. Many were injured.

These were people that were dancing. They were out celebrating an important Asian holiday about good luck, good fortune and prosperity with loved ones. The victims in Half Moon Bay were working and providing for their families. These victims were men, women, wives, husbands, friends, mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles. They were people with families that now must deal with not only a huge loss, but also the unanswered question of why. They did not deserve this. They do not deserve to have a tragic end-of-life story splashed all over the media. 

I wish I had the right words but all I can offer right now are suggestions. Talk with your friends and colleagues and discuss how these tragedies affect you all. Talk with loved ones and remind them how important they are. Listen with empathy. Speak with respect. Share a smile or a simple warm gesture with others. Let’s all do our part to help those who are affected heal from these tragedies.

To help support victims of these tragedies, Progress will be donating to Classroom of Compassion, a non-profit dedicated to cultivating and reimagining a more compassionate Los Angeles.

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