Oregon Student Essays 2023 - Ashlyn Huang

My Pandemic Experience

Written by Ashlyn Huang

Teacher: Desiree Chiu, 6th Grade
Corbett Grade School​

Drawing of young person wearing a mask holding a sign that says Hate Is A Virus. 

Life isn’t always fair. Sometimes that’s the case with those who are being treated differently. Being paid less, or being assaulted. But sometimes, it’s seen and dismissed. It’s hidden in the classrooms. Hidden in the laughs in the cafeteria. 

In April, 2020, I was in the cafeteria. "Have you heard of the Coronavirus?" The kids chattered. Kids would walk around the cafeteria. "Wanna join me at Recess?" I'd watch from the swings. They scampered around. They chased each other, and tagged each other. It was Covid Tag. How could they make it a game? That was only the start. 

Asian hate crimes rose after the start of the Pandemic. According to the NYPD, Anti-AAPI hate crimes rose by 1900% in the last year. Many Asian people stayed home in fear …what if they got hurt? My great grandmother is one of these people. She feared being attacked. Through media and personal stories, we've learned about the hardships that people face for their race. How can our society improve? 

I know that most people aren't racist, even though they seem like they are. It's only ignorance. I understand that. I've been told to go back to my country, I've been asked if I really ate bats or not, I've been looked at whenever someone mentions the Coronavirus, I've been told by other people about the "China virus", and I've been mocked for speaking Chinese. I know it's not much, but people can do better and be more considerate. My parents have always told me, "You're lucky that you can ex​perience two cultures." I try to remember this when people are thoughtless. 

I have come to realize that the obstacles I have faced make me stronger. I desire to celebrate my roots, to bring my culture out into the open. I want to learn Chinese, to help translate English to Chinese for people who need help. The pandemic taught me to embrace sharing my culture. I feel like it's important to teach this to students. People need to learn it. Awareness can change things, and make people more understanding.

Next: Bairon Lai >​