Remembering Wat Promkunaram 30 years later

Today marks the 30th anniversary since the Waddell Buddhist Temple Shooting in Arizona. As recently as 2018, it was the largest mass shooting in the state resulting in the death of 9 people including 6 Thai Buddhist monks, a nun, a novice and a lay employee.

But this incident is rarely discussed in Asian American history conversations, let alone mainstream histories. Still, here’s a 2018 article on the way the community has been rebuilding. The relationship of controversial sheriff and one-time Senate candidate Joe Arpaio stands out to me here, and may be of interest to many others trying to understand the relationship of the case to American history nationally.

This is why so many Southeast Asian Americans need to work together to identify and preserve our journeys, our shared histories, and what it means for our community, or we WILL be forgotten, and erased by others.

Over the years, I only had a chance to visit the temple once in 2009, but I felt the temple was inspiring in the peace and hope it embodied for our communities, and I hope they will continue to have the ability to serve the social and spiritual needs of those who need them most in the decades ahead.

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