- Courageous action taken by Asian students
|[A campaign poster created by Gaeun Lee]|
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, hate crimes against Asians have been increasing. Against these hate crimes, there is ongoing movement in social media, #Stop_Asian_Hate. The #Stop_Asian_Hate movement is centered in America because of the rising rate of hate crimes against Asian Americans in the country. However, the hatred against Asians exists not only in America but also in other Western countries. In Italy where I live, hate crimes against Asians have drastically increased recently as COVID-19 continues to ravage the Italian economy. The reason behind the generalized anti-Asian sentiment appears to be that people blame China for COVID-19 itself and its failure to alert the rest of the world in a transparent manner at the outset and, by extension, blame all Asians in general.
In my school, American school in Milan, I collaborated with other Asian students and planned the “Asian Lives Matter (ALM)” campaign, which is inspired by the existing Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in America. The goal of this campaign is to sensitize the students and teachers to this issue. We put posters all over the school and made presentations after school to explain the development of hatred against Asians, particularly in America and Italy. Fortunately, many students and teachers joined our presentations and participated actively in our campaign.
|[Photo of a few members making Hashtag gestures. Photo courtesy of Alessandra Castino]|
There are two reasons why I started this campaign. Firstly, I thought people are not as well aware of the Asian Hate issues as they are of the Black Hate issues. When I asked students during our presentations, the majority answered that they didn’t know about this issue because they didn’t really hear about it in the news media. Secondly, I do not mean to generalize, but students in my school did not realize that the hatred against Asians is a serious social issue in Italy. In our presentations, I highlighted the discrimination in the Italian society. I shared my opinion that the discrimination or hatred against Asians, if not checked, would soon lead to a closed society where equality is not guaranteed for everyone regardless of gender or race. Indeed, Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights forbids discrimination.
A closed society is a form of an immature society, where the minorities are discouraged from making contributions to it with their talents and diversity. We concluded our campaign with an agreement that we need to take action now toward a more mature society. Fortunately, many students appreciated our campaign and resolved to participate in our drive.
Even though I started this campaign only in my school here in Milan, I would like to see everyone reading this article to take actions to stop the hate against Asians and Blacks wherever he or she is as one of the future leaders of our societies.
American School of Milan
Gaeun Lee firstname.lastname@example.org