Tag Archives: Covid-19

Peace Through Awareness

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…”

Our Awareness of Zoom Fatigue

By Ryan Kim, age 16, Seoul, South Korea.

The rampant spread of COVID-19 caught even the experts by surprise. Without even direct contact, by simply being in the same room together, many became helplessly vulnerable to the pandemic. In order to mitigate the spread of the virus, we all had to adapt to a new norm. As the lockdown dragged on, we became more dependent on video conferencing platforms than ever before. Applications such as Zoom have boomed over the last year, providing an alternative solution for activities that once require face-to-face interactions. Many expect that these platforms can replace the traditional interaction where physical presence was once required. Despite all the positive aspects of Zoom and similar platforms, we need to understand that these platforms are viable alternatives we have only in the context of the pandemic. They should not and can not permanently replace the traditional human-to-human interaction.

            Despite the Zoom overload, the term “Zoom fatigue” is not familiar to many. In February of this year, Stanford University researchers uncovered a new phenomenon called “Zoom fatigue.” The unnatural close-ups of the face and the simultaneous view of others and self are unnatural to the human brain causing psychological overload and fatigue. Because of how Zoom became the new normal of our life, we have been inconspicuous of how dominant and fatiguing the effects are to us. Many are unaware of the feelings of exhaustion after repeated exposure to video-conferencing apps.

            In this new reality, as students are Zoom’s dominant users, they are the ones that are significantly burdened with Zoom fatigue. In virtual school, every day seems quotidian and senseless, slowly yet rapidly draining the most pivotal time of our lives. The small chatter among friends before class, walking down the hallway in between classes, and even the three-dimensional experience of being surrounded by other peers seem trivial and inconsequential until they are removed. They are a big part of the mental and psychological breaks available to students as we engage in learning.

            Institutions expecting students to follow along in the virtual setting with the same effectiveness and focus as the offline is similar to expecting a runner to run the same distance and pace while carrying a weight on his back. In these challenging times, there are no perfect solutions. I am not bashing platforms such as Zoom, nor am I suggesting that we should not have virtual classes. However, we do need to be aware and mindful of the new challenges we face in these alternatives. We must treasure the little things we did not notice until they became no longer available to us. Virtual interactions should not replace physical interactions. And most importantly, Zoom fatigue is not an excuse.

By Ryan Kim, age 16, Seoul, South Korea. He entered this article for the 2021 Youth Honor Awards program.

Work Cited:

University, Stanford. “Four Causes for ‘Zoom Fatigue’ and Their Solutions.” Stanford News, 1 Mar. 2021, news.stanford.edu/2021/02/23/four-causes-zoom-fatigue-solutions/.

Singer, Natasha. “Online Schools Are Here to Stay, Even After the Pandemic.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Apr. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/04/11/technology/remote-learning-online-school.html?searchResultPosition=6.