Journeying the road less traveled by thirteen-year-olds, activist and designer Ashlyn So is using her voice to make a change.
Violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has been on an alarming rise over the past year. A report by Stop AAPI Hate revealed that 3,795 Asian-based hate incidents had been reported to their center during the period of March 2020 and February 2021. A large percentage of these crimes had taken place in California.
Living in the Peninsula in California, Ashlyn So has been near to the violence that the AAPI community is facing. This prompted the self-professed shy So to take a stand and raise her voice during the Stop Asian Hate movement. One of her missions within the movements is to see AAPI history taught in schools.
In an interview with "Seventeen," So details how she initially got into activism. She recalled an incident televised on the news of an older man being pushed.
Petrified at the incident, she was stirred to action. So told her mother that she wanted to organize a rally to create awareness, yet little did she know that the capacity of the rally would exceed her expectations.
Despite her self-perceived shyness, she spoke at the rally in front of "over 300 people," she believes. She also organized other community members with a family friend, "who is a survivor of a violent attack," to speak.
"I used to be extremely shy, and sometimes I still am, but this situation has given me a surge of energy. I saw what was going on, and I knew I had to say something about it. I could no longer be quiet."
While most Asians are raised to be quiet as a culture teaching, So says that she figured since she had a voice, she had to use it.
Along with creating awareness, So started a petition to have schools include Asian American history into their curriculum. Instead of having the subject taught separately in ethnic studies.
In addition to changing the curriculum, her petition also seeks to educate teachers about Asian Hate, so that racist behavior isn't normalized.