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Youth Commentary: Reflecting On A Year Of Increased Violence Toward Asian Americans

A photo outdoors of three protesters holding signs. Two signs that are legible say, “Racism is a virus,” and “When I have a bad day, I go to bed early.” The composition is framed by two out-of-focus figures on each side of the image.
Isaac Hoops
/
KUNR Public Radio
Community members gather for a “Stop Asian Hate” protest at Reno City Plaza in Reno, Nev., on March 27, 2021.";s:

The pandemic exacerbated violence and discrimination against people of Asian descent. The group Stop AAPI Hate reported there were more than 6,600 hate incidents across the U.S. from mid-March of 2020 through the end of March this year. That number is likely higher due to underreporting, and this alarming trend has taken a toll on high school students.

In this commentary, KUNR Youth Media reporter Nick Stewart shares his concerns as a white ally to the Asian community and the concrete steps he takes to be supportive.

I’m constantly hearing about violent attacks on Asian Americans.

The one that really stuck with me occurred in March and involved an elderly woman in San Francisco. Asian hate crimes have skyrocketed within the past year. I don’t understand how someone could be filled with so much hate towards an innocent group of people.

I hear about how racism is fueled by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and that infuriates me. What control do Asian Americans have on that? I can only imagine how terrified Asian Americans are feeling right now because it seems like every day I’m hearing about another attack on them.

It makes me feel terrible because I myself will never fully understand their pain or experience something like that because I’m white. One of my best friends is also Asian American, and so she must be living in fear constantly.

America is supposed to be a country where everyone is treated equally, but that just isn’t the case. While we have come a long way with equality here in the United States, there’s still much work that needs to be done.

I actively donate to organizations and support Asian businesses, hoping that I can assist in making change. We should all be supporting the Asian American community through those organizations and businesses. I just hope that change will come soon.

Nick Stewart is a junior at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology in Reno. KUNR’s Youth Media program partners with the Washoe County School District to train the next generation of journalists.

Nick Stewart is a student reporter for KUNR. He is a senior in high school and attends the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology in Reno. He contributed through the KUNR Youth Media program in the spring of 2021, and he covered the 2021 Northern Nevada Pride parade and festival. After high school, he hopes to obtain a bachelor’s degree in journalism through the Reynolds School of Journalism at UNR.
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