Thursday, December 8, 2016

Four Asian/American victims of Oakland's Ghost Ship fire


Perishing in the warehouse fire, from left: Vanessa Plotkin, Ara Jo and Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye.
REPRINTED FROM ASAM NEWS

FOUR Asian/American women have been identified as among the 36 who died in last Friday night’s warehouse fire in Oakland.

Vanessa Plotkin, 21, is a Filipino/American student who attended U.C. Berkeley and majored in sociology. She grew up in Lakewood, California near Los Angeles. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, she contacted her twin sister Victoria in New York City just 30 minutes before the tragedy occurred.

“I love you baby sis, you will remain forever in my heart,” her brother Gavin wrote on Facebook.
UPDATE: Earlier versions of this post only listed three AA victims of the fire. Since that time Jennifer Morris has been identified.
Plotkin volunteered at the campus radio station, KALX.

Ara Jo, 29, was an artist and musician who lived in Oakland. She is survived by her parents who live in South Korea.

The East Bay Times says she was a key organizer of the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest which is scheduled to take place this weekend in Berkeley.

“She’s an incredibly energetic person, a person who can cheer up a room just by existing,” said Jeremy Erickson, print specialist at The Ink Stone where Jo worked. “A lot of energy packed in that small body…It’s hard not to like her.”

Ara Jo was an artist and musician who lived in Oakland. She is survived by her parents who live in South Korea.


The East Bay Times says she was a key organizer of the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest which is scheduled to take place this weekend in Berkeley.

“She’s an incredibly energetic person, a person who can cheer up a room just by existing,” said Jeremy Erickson, print specialist at The Ink Stone where Jo worked. “A lot of energy packed in that small body…It’s hard not to like her.”

Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye, 31, loved to paint nails and had set up a nail art booth on the second floor of the Ghost Ship Warehouse the night of the tragedy.

The Mercury News says she was a music manager at Shazam.



“She was a light,” said her best friend Ronnie Casey. “To know her was to love her.”

Since the initial reports, another Asian American victim has been identified. Rafu Shimpo has identified a fourth Asian American victim in the Oakland warehouse fire.

Jennifer Akiko Morris,21, is from Foster City south of San Francisco. She was a junior at U.C. Berkeley and attended the concert at the Ghost Ship Warehouse with her roommate Plotkin, who also died. Morris also attended U.C. Santa Cruz and is a graduate of San Mateo High

“With broken hearts, our family received the news that our daughter Jenny Morris, who was listed as missing at the Oakland warehouse fire, has been identified,” they wrote in a Facebook group called “We Love You, Jenny Morris.”. “This is devastating as Jenny was such a beautiful, intelligent, creative, caring and sincere young lady with a bright future ahead of her.

During a memorial at U.C. Berkeley for five of their students who died in the fire, Jennifer’s father Michael Morris said “There’s a part of our hearts missing today.”

Jennifer is also survived by her mother Toshiko, and brother, Christopher.


The cause of the fire in the two-storey Ghost Ship warehouse, the deadliest fire in the last 13 years, is still under investigation.
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