I was so excited to go to places when I moved to New York in early 2020. Unfortunately, a couple of months after I moved New York got its first COVID-19 case upstate. I had gone to some places in the city before the lockdown and I never thought that the once crowded city could be as quiet and scary as a ghost town.

It was so scary to be close to people because you’d have no idea if they were exposed to the virus or not. But that’s not the worst feeling I felt. What could be worse than people staring at you (like as if I was an actual virus), telling you to go back to where you came from, just because you’re an Asian? It did not only happen once, nor twice but four times someone stared at me, yelled at me like I or the Asians in general, were the virus! Racism is everywhere.

It did not just start over the past year with COVID-19. It’s been happening for so long and was only just spotlighted because of the coronavirus pandemic. And it’s frightening that hate crimes and violence happen just because of your race. It’s soul-crushing!

I hope that someday in some way, no matter what your race, we can all educate ourselves and change our behavior towards other races and speak out against racist acts. COVID-19 is devastating as it is. Let’s not worsen the situation with violence because of a person’s race. Each one of us MATTERS.