Kaitlyn Xu, Editor-in-Chief

 #STOPASIANHATE. The hashtag alongside a movement against rising anti-Asian sentiments. The movement has been gaining traction following the shooting of 8 people (6 of them Asian women) in Asian-owned spas in Atlanta. The shootings have yet to be labeled as a Hate-crime.

   Over the course of the past year, as COVID-19 cases have spiked, the number of verbal and physical attacks on Asians has followed it. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, in 2020 alone, while the total number of hate crimes dropped seven percent nationally, hate crimes targeting Asians rose a staggering 149 percent. COVID-19’s Chinese origin has led to blame being placed on the shoulders of Chinese-Amercans, and by extension, Asian-Americans. 

   The spotlight placed on the Stop Asian Hate movement has brought forth many conversations about how anti-Asian sentiments take form. They can be as severe as the shootings in Atlanta, or as inconspicuous as derogatory comments delicately placed into a casual conversation. Those comments may seem insignificant on the surface, but they eventually build up to something worse, leaving Asian-Americans feeling the need to be cautious at all times. 

   Junior Chloe Troyer, a student who has been vocal on issues facing Asian-Americans, expressed some of the concerns in her day-to-day life. “When I go to Publix and people kind of stand near me in the aisles, I get super nervous and walk away from them just because I never know what they’re going to do. The other day a guy in the store was looking at me and that made me really really nervous, so I actually ended up leaving the store.” This constant fear of the unknown follows students everywhere from the grocery store to inside school walls.

   “Coming to school this year, I was super super nervous, because I just didn’t want anyone to say anything, and I’m still a little nervous. Anytime anyone will bring up COVID, I’m just kind of waiting, like ‘Oh are they going to say anything or not’,” Troyer said.

   Junior Anna Tamura also recalled one of her in-school experiences and said that, “at the beginning of COVID last year, I had someone actually say, ‘Don’t give me Corona’, and hold their nose…That was just the very beginning.” Tamura continued, “Discrimination against Asians has always been there but definetly COVID brought it to light, and emphasized it.”

   Even as Asian-American students continue to deal with occurrences like these in their daily lives, students say that the problem is yet to be addressed to the extent it needs to be. “I feel like [people at school] don’t treat it like a pressing issue,” Troyer said. Tamura elaborated on this thought saying, “I just feel like our school doesn’t talk about it enough, that it’s not really brought to anyone’s attention.”

   School Counselor Krista Diamond agrees that “we do need to do more. Again, we always want to be more proactive than reactive, but that’s not to say that we can’t do more, and we should do more.” 

   For co-sponsor of the Student Leadership Action Planning Team, Tracy O’Neill, doing more proactively also includes careful course planning. “We are trying to work more Asian history and Asian culture into the curriculum, and understanding that dynamic of discrimination that has existed here in the United States for a very long time, so [that] there’s understanding.”

   Troyer believes that that understanding is key in raising people’s awareness. “After the Atlanta shootings, everyone would just post one thing on their story, like ‘Oh this is so terrible’, and people were acting like they were surprised about what happened, but if you were paying attention in the last year, you shouldn’t be surprised at all.”

Junior Chloe Troyer created this photograph to express her perspective on an increase in hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic.