636 Purissima Street, Half Moon Bay, CA
Monday, January 30, 2023
The epidemic of firearm violence across our nation has hit home in Half Moon Bay, CA and our community is in shock. We knew the victims and survivors. In fact, our own farmworker team was at one of the farms just minutes before the shooting. We mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters and stand committed to serve the devastated hearts affected by this tragedy.
For years, Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (ALAS) has been serving the North Coast farmworker community, both Asian and Latinos. Our cross-cultural collaboration has built special relationships among farmworker families.
Our hearts are hurting as there are so many unanswered questions.
Since the shooting, ALAS has been meeting with families and workers in private. We appreciate the media attention and care for our farmworkers in the wake of this tragic incident, but people are distraught. In spite of the emotional trauma they are navigating, they are open to talking to the media right now.
To assist with media coverage, this week, ALAS will arrange for a pool reporter and camera operator to interview workers who will be ready to speak after receiving help from the ALAS mental health services team.
Please understand that it is a traumatic and sensitive time for workers who do not want to relive the tragic details of the situation repeatedly by doing separate interviews. We ask that you please respect the wishes of our farmworkers. A media advisory will be distributed with details prior to the pool interview.
We at ALAS renew our commitment to our community. Despite people’s pain, anger, fear, and confusion we know that we can use our fortitude of character to rise again and make Half Moon Bay a safe and loving place for all.
What we also know is that the great need of farmworkers and their families, before and after this tragedy, demands that all of us respond to a greater degree. Service as usual is not sufficient.
As ALAS asks politicians, universities, religious groups, law enforcement, civic and philanthropic organizations, and others to respond on a higher level, we take this moment to recognize the support our community in Half Moon Bay and San Mateo County has extended to our efforts to improve the lives of farmworkers and their families.
The world is now getting an in-depth look at how a farmworker with low wages, lack of mental health support, and inhumane living conditions devolved to orchestrate a mass shooting. We hope that this newfound attention, especially from our elected officials, will bring about long-term equitable changes that farmworkers have always deserved.
As we at ALAS stand in prayer for the victims, their families, and the one responsible for this sad and tragic injustice, it is our highest hope we will move forward and take collective action to reduce violence and the undercurrents of its cause to rebuild a safe home in Half Moon Bay.
Because there are moments in life where we have to draw a line in the sand and say enough. This is one of those moments.
Thank you for your thoughts and actions to help ALAS do its work on behalf of farmworkers.
Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga
Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (ALAS)
Victoria Sanchez De Alba; (650) 270-7810 / firstname.lastname@example.org
De Alba Communications (for ALAS)