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Remembering Nohemi Gonzalez

Cal State Long Beach, 11/15/2015

The tragedy in Paris on Friday night made me feel very shock and sadden for the loss of 129 innocent individuals and hundreds injured from this senseless attack.   We are mourning Paris and all those effected from this tragedy.  Furthermore, I was even more devastated when I heard that Nohemi Gonzalez, a CSULB student was killed in the Le Petit Cambodge restaurant while dining there.  My thoughts went out to her mother right away.

My thanks to Mayor Robert Garcia for informing us about the vigil to honor the life of Nohemi Gonzalez at CSULB.   After arriving, the ballroom was packed with hundreds of people.  Standing in the back of the room with so many mourners, Nohemi’s mother, Ms. Beatrice Gonzalez, was so emotional while listening to speeches from CSULB faculty, family and friends as they shared so many wonderful things about Nohemi before she left for Paris.  I couldn’t hold back my tears when Nohemi’s stepfather read the message on behalf of her mother, who silently cried when hearing her only daughter's name.

Afterward, I met and talked with two CSULB faculties about this loss.  One of the faculty members said, "We never expect something like this to happen to our child at all."  I replied, "I feel the pain of her mother because she was waiting for her only daughter to return and was eager to listen to her beautiful stories and adventures that she had experienced from Paris. And now, what she has is just the memory of her.  It crushed my heart, too." 

Both of the ladies thanked me for coming to support the family. There was a very large crowd that evening as our community gathered at the Friendship Walk for the candle light vigil in her memory.  I returned home with a heavy feeling toward her mother and stepfather for this great loss.

May God Bless Paris, all the families of the 129 victims, and all those that were injured, including Le Petit Cambodge restaurant.

Chan Hopson

Khmer Parent Association


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