Monterey Park, a diverse community filled with culture and sense of belonging, now healing together

Many described Monterey Park as a place where one can shop and live in community without language barriers.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2023 6:28AM
Monterey Park: Inside the diverse community that's now healing as one
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Monterey Park is a thriving city in the San Gabriel Valley, home to many rich and diverse cultures. The community is more than 60,000 people and about 65% is Asian.

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (KABC) -- Monterey Park is a thriving city in the San Gabriel Valley, home to many rich and diverse cultures.

The community is more than 60,000 people and about 65% is Asian. More than 28,000 people are Chinese residents, according to the Census data.

"Apple" Liu immigrated from Guangzhou, China, a city about 106 miles northwest of Hong Kong, in 2013. She opened Ping's Employment Agency as a way to help monolingual Chinese immigrants find jobs in restaurants, warehouses, or in childcare.

Through Ni Ni, an employee who helped interpret our interview, Liu said she wanted to help people find work, given that living expenses are so high.

Liu is one of many examples of the entrepreneurial, communal, and hardworking spirit in Monterey Park and surrounding communities.

Chinese immigrants, especially first-generation immigrants, work hard to learn an entirely new language, said Jeff Chen, who works at Yunnan Restaurant.

Chen immigrated from China 14 years ago.

He explained Monterey Park is a place where many can shop and live in community without language barriers.

"It's easy for us to shop around the Asian supermarket," he said. "Most people, they speak Mandarin, Cantonese."

He's worked at the restaurant for about nine years. Their most popular dish is the Yunnan house special rice noodles.

Being able to serve customers as family is what he likes the most about his job, he said.

While many grieve the tragedy and loss of Saturday's mass shooting this community is experiencing, Liu shared a message to uplift people at the start of the Lunar New Year, hoping to see people join together "like a whole family."