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This summer, senior Kathleen C. watched as incidents of anti-Asian racism continued to escalate following the spread of COVID-19. After hearing a news story about an 89-year-old Asian American woman who was set on fire by attackers in New York, she was inspired to stand up and speak out. She formed an organization called Vocal Asians for Change — a “youth-organized movement dedicated to speaking out against racism in our communities.”

“This group is not just for Asians, it's to uplift minorities everywhere,” said Kathleen. “We are all human, and we want to have a way to support, act, and push for change for everyone and communities everywhere.” Vocal Asians for Change staged a peaceful gathering at Pasadena City Hall last month, where 60 people turned out to raise awareness of the growing xenophobia and Coronavirus-related anti-Asian racism. Kathleen’s grandmother (pictured below), who was verbally assaulted outside a Trader Joe’s in Pasadena and blamed for spreading COVID-19 to the U.S. attended the gathering, along with many Westridge students and alumnae!

Kathleen and her work with Vocal Asians for Change have been applauded by Congresswoman Judy Chu and were featured in the San Marino Tribune this week. You can find out more by visiting the group’s Instagram page @vocalasiansforchange.

Photo Credit: Richard Cao

Photo Credit: Richard Cao