Peace Through Awareness
“I am not a virus.” That was the message on many of the signs to call out anti-Asian hate. Asian hate crimes during Corona have rocked our country back and forth, but even before Corona pandemic came into our world, Anti-Asian hate crimes existed. We’re living in a time of change, with black people getting killed, Corona virus, Asian hate, and to top that all off, Russia’s war in Ukraine. Peace is hard to come by these days.
Back when Corona started, my mom talked to me about Asian hate crimes. She said that President Donald Trump called the virus “the China virus.” It was basically his way of saying, “Oh, this pandemic is all because of Chinese people.” That made me feel sad, but at that time I felt that there wasn’t really anything I could do.
Unlike me, other people were already doing rallies, and a few people had formed an organization called Stop AAPI Hate. News spread even faster than Corona virus. A few months later, my family went to an Anti-Asian Hate support rally in Fort Lee, and we heard people speak about the hate crimes. My parents had heard about it from our friend. It was on a field, with a big “Be Fort Lee” sign. The supporters were crowded around a table, and the speakers spoke in a microphone. People brought their families with them, including their kids. They made signs to show their support. The signs said things like “Love,” and some even used drawings. One sign I remember clearly was a person with a mask, and the artist used rather dark colors to show their pain and fear.
I may not have understood then how painful the attacks were, because I hadn’t even made a sign. But the rally encouraged some other people. Recently, my mom and her coworkers started a podcast. It focused on the Asian Americans living in Queens, NY. I loved listening and learning the stories of these Asian American people, but the podcast also helped me understand the depth of Asian hate in the country. The podcasters would give some snippets of the attacks on Asians such as GuiYing Ma, a 62-year-old lady that was hit on the head with a rock by a stranger. She was sweeping the sidewalk outside her Jackson Heights home on Nov. 26th when a man ambushed her, smashing a large rock against the left side of her head just inches from her eye.
Mrs. Ma woke up in a hospital after a coma and even waved to her husband, though her brain was damaged. For a while everything seemed like it was going to be okay. But then she died. When I heard that, I was shocked. How could someone just kill her, when she didn’t even do anything wrong? What if this had been someone close to me? What if it had been someone in my family?
Then I started speaking up.
“Does anyone else want to share?” My teacher at school asked. It was a few days before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and my class was talking about equal rights and what movement we would like to stand up for.
“I’m Asian, so I want to stand up against Asian hate. There are attacks going on, and many people have gotten hurt.”
I wasn’t the only one speaking about this. Several of my other friends pitched in, and talked about the attacks, and one almost made the teacher cry with her answer, which was more like a speech. Now I finally felt like I was part of this. Not a really big part, but enough that some people at least know about it. Who knows, they could spread the word, and more and more people will hear about it and speak up against the hate crimes. I might not be some famous speaker that would win the Nobel Peace Prize, but I did something to bring a little, just a little, more peace in our world.
By Noah Xia, age 9, Asian American, New York. She adds: “I like to write, read, play piano, and draw. I write poems, short stories and essays. I enjoy playing with my brother and riding my bike along the Hudson River. Even if I don’t have a piece of paper nearby, I make up stories in my head. In fact, one of my greatest stories (according to my brother) was completely improvised! My submission talks about the hate crime attacks against Asians and how they affected me. At first, I didn’t think I could do anything about the attacks, but I ended up actually bringing a little more peace in our world. I believe that world peace is possible, but we’re just not quite there yet…”