I spoke about the rise in xenophobia against the AAPI community due to COVID-19 at my school assembly at the beginning of the pandemic back in 2020, at a time when no one was talking about it. After a year of witnessing the increase in anti-Asian sentiment and violence toward my community, I decided to take more action. Originally I had a little idea to hang a sign in support of the AAPI community over the I-80, one of the busiest intersections in CA. This small idea evolved into the AAPI Youth Rising Rally.
On March 28, 2021 community members representing the diversity of the Bay Area came together in solidarity with the AAPI community at our rally in Berkeley, CA. Originally, I had hoped for 70 participants. To my surprise, over 1,200 participants joined the crowd. On a bright and sunny day, we heard from many brave youth as we raised our voices. A first-grader even spoke up! We then marched to the SF Bay Pedestrian Footbridge and hung our signs on the overpass while we heard motorists honk in support. It was an inspirational day for all of us. In that moment, we realized that even as middle-schoolers, we can make a difference. These small actions add up.
College Preparatory School, Oakland CA, Class of 2026