Monterey Park Shows Resilience, Solidarity During AAPI Heritage Month
SCE’s Thomas Wong helps lead the Asian American and Pacific Islander community as it recovers from a tragic mass shooting.
The swearing in of elected public officials is usually a cause for a well-attended celebration. However, the city of Monterey Park held a quiet, private ceremony in late January to swear in its new mayor, Jose Sanchez, and mayor pro tem, Thomas Wong. Even family members were restricted from attending out of respect for the tragedy that occurred just one week prior: a mass shooting during the city’s Lunar New Year Festival that killed 11 people and severely injured nine others at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio.
Wong, a policy engagement advisor for Southern California Edison for more than five years, was preparing for his new role with the city when he was called on to help coordinate police response, media inquiries and recovery resources after the shooting.
Since then, the community has been eager to connect in person. Recent public events in Monterey Park have had more attendance than usual.
“I think there’s a hunger and desire to have these community spaces so we can come together to heal, support and enjoy each other’s company. It has been helpful for us as a community to support each other by simply being physically in the same space,” Wong said.
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a significant occasion for many cultures to convene and celebrate the community’s diversity following Lunar New Year.
At SCE, Wong builds relationships with large business associations, nonprofits and community leaders to advance clean energy, climate and environmental priorities and policies . Giving back to his community is a priority, and he has been involved in public policy long before working for the company as a Monterey Park City commissioner and a San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District board member.
During SCE’s 17th annual AAPI Heritage Month Celebration, Wong presented the Community Impact Award to Brandon Tsay for confronting and disarming the gunman during the shooting at the nearby Lai Lai Dance Studio. Tsay has since focused on turning the tragedy into positive action and impact for the Monterey Park and AAPI community.
“The Brandon Tsay Hero Fund is to rebuild and heal after this tragedy, so I’ve partnered with the Asian Pacific Community Fund to develop a couple of projects and initiatives to draw awareness and make an impact in the AAPI community,” Tsay said.
The work that we do at SCE is personal to me. We’re committed to enabling the state’s efforts to reduce emissions and improve air quality. We’re leading the transformation of the electric power industry focusing on clean energy, the grid of the future and customer choice. SCE recognizes that the progress toward a clean energy future will be successful only if it is equitable and accessible for everyone, including our most vulnerable communities."
Larry Chung, SCE Vice President
The celebration also recognized the Asian Business Association with the Gwen Moore Diversity Award, Asian Pacific Community Fund and Asian American Professional Association with the Community Partnership Award. Larry Chung, SCE vice president of Local Public Affairs, presented GreenWealth Energy with the Clean Energy Champion award for its partnership with SCE’s Charge Ready program.
Chung began his career in government promoting electric vehicle charging infrastructure years ago when EVs were more of a concept than reality.
“The work that we do at SCE is personal to me. We’re committed to enabling the state’s efforts to reduce emissions and improve air quality. We’re leading the transformation of the electric power industry focusing on clean energy, the grid of the future and customer choice,” Chung said. “SCE recognizes that the progress toward a clean energy future will be successful only if it is equitable and accessible for everyone, including our most vulnerable communities."
Learn more about Edison International’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in its annual DEI Report.
Click here to view a video of the AAPI Month Celebration.