At the very start, when everything started shutting down and we went into lockdown, I had no idea that these next few months would turn out this way.
“We’re only doing online school for two weeks, then everything will go back to normal,” my friends and I reassured one another. But two weeks turned into three weeks, then a month, and we were all still stuck at home. As the days stretched out in front of me, I started to feel more and more dissatisfied. It felt like something was missing from my life, but I didn’t know what it was. Every day was the same: I did my schoolwork, went to classes, and holed myself up in the comfort of my own room.
Instances of xenophobia against Asians flooded my Instagram feed, and it felt like our very own existence had become the embodiment of the horrible virus that changed the world. This was the tipping point for me— I couldn’t keep watching without speaking out. My ethnicity is not a virus, and it shouldn’t be treated like one. I had always been vocal about Asian activism, but I’d never found an accessible platform for Asian youth to come together and share their stories and empower one another. I sat down in front of my computer, looked at my life, and considered how I could make an impact with my love of literature. And so amidst the chaos of this pandemic, Dear Asian Youth was born.
The days went by as I published my work. More friends reached out and asked to join in and contribute, and to my surprise, it spiraled into a full-fledged nonprofit organization with a podcast, online events, and over a hundred international chapters! As the project grew and grew, I began to truly realize the power of the internet. It's magically unified so many teenagers from different backgrounds, different countries, and different upbringings, but with the same mission: to raise awareness and create change amongst Asian youth.
The world has been changing since the beginning of the pandemic, and it will only keep on changing. I’m hopeful that youth like you and I will be able to change the world for the better, and I can’t wait to see where that takes us.
Written by: Victoria Sin