HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- Residents of Half Moon Bay gathered Sunday nearly one year after a mass shooting rocked the farming community.
"Today we remember seven farm workers," said Half Moon Bay Mayor Joaquin Jimenez, remembering the farmworkers killed on Jan. 23 of last year, after a gunman opened fire on his former coworkers.
"We are not going to forget the farmworkers every day. The healing process is going to take years. This is just a step forward," said the mayor.
"It is our job, not only to mourn with these families for this tragic loss," said Half Moon Bay resident Cynthia Sherrill. "It is our job to work towards trying to resolve some of the circumstances and issues that led to this horrible event."
"I think, (it) blew a hole in everyone's hearts. The tragedy of it, the senselessness of it," said Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, noting the mass shooting exposing poor living conditions, a lack of mental health services, and fair pay for farmworkers. "It really tore the veil off of some of the operations in farming here on the coast side."
"I can feel that even as people are walking in today, it is just like a gloomy moment," said Rita Mancera, executive director of Puente de la Costa Sur, one of the nonprofits that's been helping the farm workers' families. "I'm just grateful that we were able to support the families with funds for rental assistance, but there's so much work to do about mental health, about gun control, about services for communities."
"There are so many things that they need. And we have, as a community, have not recognized that and now we do," said the mayor.
San Mateo County Board of Supervisors signed off earlier this month on a 50-acre lot to be turned into a farmworker housing and co-op.
"It took a tragedy for us to recognize this," said Mayor Jimenez. "And we are not going to forget anymore."
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