Erica, 19

At the age of 5, I was dropped off at my first day of kindergarten without knowing a word of English. I spent my very first day of school bawling my eyes out in my teachers lap out of frustration and fear. As a child of two Chinese immigrants, I grew up juggling my two identities and cultures. In my early childhood, I struggled to assimilate myself in American culture and was uncomfortable with being different. I grew up blocking out my classmates' remarks about my small eyes, flat face and eating dogs. I ignored strangers calling me “ling ling” and asking me where I’m really from. Now, 14 years later, it gets harder to simply ignore the ignorant and the hateful. We are blamed for the “Chinese virus”. We quarantine in fear of contracting Covid-19. We quarantine in fear of being spit on, yelled at, and beaten up. 

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