DAVIS, Calif. — In the wake of two mass shootings in California this week, the Davis community gathered together to remember the lives lost to gun violence.
The UC Davis chapter of Students Demand Action, a national gun violence prevention organization, partnered with Moms Demand Action, Davis Phoenix Coalition and local government officials to hold a candlelight vigil Thursday night at Davis Central Park.
Organizers told ABC10 this is a moment to process recent gun violence in California from the mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay to a shooting in Oakland this week that left one dead and several others injured.
Community leaders and speakers echoed similar calls for change, including increased gun control measures and improved mental health services.
Two mass shootings this week happened on opposite ends of the state in less than 48 hours. In Southern California, a shooting at a Monterey Park ballroom dance studio killed five men and six women ranging in age from 57-76. On Monday, seven people were killed at a pair of mushroom farms in Half Moon Bay.
"As people who really love our state, it's just devastating to see this happen," said Roan Thibault, a UC Davis student and group leader for Students Demand Action.
Over the weekend, a gunman opening fire as a Lunar New Year celebration was happening in Monterey Park, a community with a largely Asian population.
"As a community, I think we're becoming more and more aware of violence that's being directed against Asians and Asian Americans," said Stephen Fujimoto, a UC Davis student.
Fujimoto highlighted the need for improved mental health.
"At the end of the day, I think we keep each other safe as a community and we can look out for our neighbors, our elders and our young ones and really be there both supporting our physical needs and safety, but also our mental well being because I think sometimes in the Asian community, mental health isn't often as discussed as it should be," he said.
Thibault, along with other speakers, called for increased gun control measures.
"I truly think the best way to honor victims of gun violence is with action to make sure that no other person has to experience that kind of pain," Thibault said. "One of the things that we're really pushing for is to hold the gun industry accountable and to stop it from using these sales tactics and from innovating to make guns even more deadly."