UNR students celebrate Lunar New Year, hold a vigil for victims of CA mass shootings

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 12:52 AM PST
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RENO, NV (KXNV) - University of Nevada Reno (UNR) students and faculty rang in the year of the rabbit on Wednesday.

“This is actually the biggest the event is going to be since COVID,” said senior Brian Liu Nguyen, who has emceed the event.

Dean of students Leilani Kupo says the holiday is a time to welcome Spring and honor ancestors.

“It’s really an opportunity to come together, to gather, to celebrate the water rabbit and for the Vietnamese community, the year of the cat,” she said. “So it is a way for the community to gather, to be in solidarity with each other.”

For Nguyen and other Asian American and Pacific Islander students, the event makes them feel seen and appreciated, but it’s also an opportunity to bring awareness.

“In Reno itself, Asian diversity isn’t represented as widely as it should be and the community itself doesn’t know we’re here,” said Nguyen.

Celebrations were top of mind, but folks took time to remember the lives lost during the tragic mass shootings at Monterrey Park and Half Moon Bay in California.

“My brothers and my sisters actually said they were going to be at that festival that night,” said Nguyen. “Thankfully, nothing happened to them but my heart is out there for those who have lost their family.”

For many present it’s gatherings like this that restore hope and bring the community together amid tragedy.