"Words have power and they can hurt like blades, and I definitely felt like I was being stabbed by his words"

Said Pei Jung Lee, an Asian American woman who was verbally attacked with racial slurs on a New York City subway by a passenger on August 11th.

Pei Jung Lee was later interviewed by NBC New York, where she recounted the incident:

When she had first entered the subway, there was already a heated argument between the guy that had targeted her and another passenger. She started filming as she feared for her safety. When the man realized that he was being filmed, he began yelling racist comments such as “Kung Flu” and how Asians were to blame for the coronavirus pandemic— including that Lee should return to where she came from. Lee stated that she has been too afraid to ride the subway ever since the incident.

Starting from the pandemic and the creation of phrases such as “Chinese Virus,” “Kung Flu,” and “China Plague,” there has been a significant surge in anti-Asian hate crimes. Stop AAPI Hate, a website that tracks anti-Asian hate crimes, has recorded over 1800 hate crimes in just a short 3 month period of time between mid March and late June.

Additionally, according to the Asian American Federation, 371 anti-Asian hate crimes have been collected solely in the state of New York from January to July 15th. Incidents include and are not limited to stabbing, punching, burning, spitting at, and verbally attacking Asians.

This may have been stated numerous times before, but it is important for it to be stated again and again until these words sink into the minds of every single person: there is no particular race or ethnicity this virus targets— viruses affect all. We humans, however, can choose. We can choose not to be racist and not to bring down each other. We can choose to be better, but we can only achieve that goal together.