Half Moon Bay Community Gathers to Commemorate One-Year Anniversary of Tragic Mass Shooting
In a poignant and somber evening, the Half Moon Bay community came together on Tuesday to mark the one-year anniversary of a devastating mass shooting that claimed the lives of seven individuals and left one injured. The emotional event served as a reminder of the pain and sorrow still felt by many.
Among the attendees was Jose Ángel Hernández, who shared that he had worked alongside one of the victims at the farm where the tragic incident occurred. He recounted the heart-wrenching realization that he and his wife still work at that very farm, prompting them to reflect on how their lives would have been forever altered had they been present during the shooting. Grateful for their safety, Hernández couldn’t help but feel a profound sadness for those who were lost.
Also present at the commemoration was Pedro Romero, the lone survivor of the shooting, who tragically lost his brother, Jose. The gathering was attended by notable figures such as Half Moon Bay Mayor Joaquin Jimenez, who joined Bay Area leaders in addressing the changes that have been implemented and the further improvements still needed for the farmworker community.
A powerful art piece, aptly titled “Heart of the Farmworker,” was unveiled during the event. The sculpture, created by artist Fernando Escartiz, finds its home in the offices of Ayudando Latinos A Sonar (ALAS), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources and solace to farmworkers. Belinda Hernández Arriaga, the founder of ALAS, emphasized the importance of remembering what the farmworker community has endured, emphasizing the significance of the artwork.
Escartiz explained that the sculpture, resembling a winged heart, symbolizes the two cultures profoundly affected by the tragedy. The wings, he elaborated, represent the migratory nature of many farmworkers, who leave their home countries in search of better opportunities. The artwork serves as a poignant reminder of the collective pain and resilience of the community.
Even after the passing of a year, the haunting images of the shooting continue to haunt Hernández. Every day, he finds solace in telling his children that he loves them, recognizing the fragility and uncertainty of life. The anniversary gathering served as a powerful testament to the strength and unity of the Half Moon Bay community in the face of tragedy, as they came together to honor the memories of those lost and advocate for a safer future for all farmworkers.