In memorial to the 14 county employees of San Bernardino who lost their lives to terrorist attacks, the various faith communities of Downtown LA launched the Vigilant Love: A Solidarity Community Vigil Against Violence and Islamophobia gathering on December 10. Hosted by the Japanese American Council and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, various faith leaders including Buddhist, Sikh, Jewish, Christian, Catholic and Muslim communities came together to pray for those effected by this tragedy. Everyone was of one accord, expressing the ideas “to overcome terror with love; to overcome violence with peace; to overcome hatred with harmony,” calling upon all peoples to be mutually helpful and caring.
Venerable Director Mankuang, accompanied by Venerables Manjing and Miao Hsi, attended a prayer service in Little Tokyo for the victims of the recent attack in San Bernardino. In the afternoon, beginning at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, attendees lit candles in silent memorial and after Muslim evening prayers, walked in unison to the plaza of the Japanese American National Museum. Chief Executive Officer of the Museum, Greg Kimura, introduced the meaning of the architecture reporting that before Pearl Harbor, on this land was a temple, a place of refuge for the hearts of the Japanese. After war broke out, it instead became a passageway for 120,000 Japanese to be sent to concentration camps. We should heed this as a cautionary tale, so that wars and crimes of hatred may never happen again. Rabbi Sharon Brous was also in attendance on that fifth day of Hanukkah.
Rabbi Sharon concluded her remarks saying “Light brings us hope. The world is one family. And all humankind is of one entity,” where after five candles were lit before the museum with the wish that the “light of victory” may wipeout all darkness within our hearts. The host also led everyone in closing their eyes and taking 14 deep breaths to remember the 14 “brothers and sisters who were able to experience precious life.” To conclude the service, everyone formed a human peace sign for a group photo to show their wish for a peaceful world.