When I was in elementary school, there were kids who would make fun of me because of my race. They would pull back their eyes and call me racial slurs. This was my first experience with Asian Hate crimes. My parents put me in martial arts to learn how to defend myself.
In 2016, my mom was coming home from work when two people attacked her in the train station. Luckily for my mom, she was confident enough and physically able to defend herself and get away. Even though my mom was able to protect herself, It was still traumatizing. When I heard about my mom’s story, I was in shock. This situation made me realize that there are people who will try to hurt you, even if you've done nothing.
When COVID-19 hit America, I found an immediate change in my family’s life. Previously, we’d never question the safety of our neighborhood, but now I was no longer allowed to take the subway by myself, and I couldn’t go anywhere unless I was surrounded by people I knew. This was the only way my parents could ensure that I could be protected. However, even with all of these precautionary measures, I would still get harassed. This is when I felt like something had to change. The Asian community should feel safe to walk in the streets and to go home. But instead, we have to constantly be on alert, never knowing where it could come from, inducing high levels of stress and anxiety. I want to make sure that our community can feel protected, and that the future communities never have to go through the open hostility and aggression we’re experiencing now.