CHICAGO (WLS) -- As Chicagoans prepare for Lunar New Year celebrations in the Chinatown and Uptown neighborhoods, safety is even more of a priority following the mass shooting at a Lunar New Year gathering in Monterey Park, California over the weekend.
"That's our top concern. There will be a visible presence, and then there will be an invisible presence as well," said 11th Ward Alderwoman Nicole Lee.
Uptown restaurant owner Kelly Cheng has been helping out with the planning for the Argyle Lunar New Year parade.
"We don't want anyone to feel like it is not safe out here, it is. It is a very fun event. We want people to come and enjoy themselves," said Cheng, who owns Suh Wah BBQ
Although the deadly shooting does not appear to be racially-motivated, DePaul University Psychology Professor Anne Saw said Asian Americans across the country were already on edge about their safety.
"Because of this heightened violence that Asian Americans have experienced, particularly since the start of the pandemic, our communities are raw. And, our communities are on edge, and have been for a very, very long time," she said.
The Midwest Asian Health Association, based in Chinatown, is ready to respond to anyone who needs mental health support.
"We certainly provide crisis management services in situations like this and we work really closely with our community partners," said Allison Precht with the Midwest Asian Health Association.
Alderwoman Lee, whose ward includes Chinatown, said the victims of the Monterey Park shooting won't be far from mind during this weekend's new year celebrations.
"The best way to honor them really is to continue to gather and celebrate, not to celebrate their loss, but to celebrate in their honor," she said.
The parade in Uptown will begin with a moment of silence for the victims, Cheng said.