Kristy Yu Shares Experience with NPR After Speaking Out Against Asian-American Hate

Photo Credits to Kristy Yu.

Photo Credits to Kristy Yu.


As junior, Kristy Yu, joins the Zoom call, her voice has been heard by people across her platform and seems enthused to share her experience as a long-time activist and dedicated student. She had her interview with NPR not long before speaking with Newsbytes about it, and her sophistication and eloquence demonstrate the attributes that NPR was impressed by in her podcast.

Like much of our youth, her activism solely was found in educating others through social media,

“It wasn’t a topic I had spoken about, mainly because I was scared to speak out… then we see the biggest increase of 150% in attacks against Asians, especially around Chinese New Years.”

With the former Trump administration perpetuating racist phrases, referring to COVID-19 as the “China Virus” and other xenophobic and factually incorrect claims about the virus, the blame for the pandemic is pinned onto Asian-Americans.

“There was a point where I was just done because there is no point in attacking another race for something that isn’t caused by them, or attacking a race because you are just against them.”

Her platform was limited to her AP Lang class with Mrs. Rodriguez. She says that the introduction to openly speaking about Asian-American hate was a focus on the model minority myth, or the idea that all Asians engage in harmful cultural stereotypes and therefore, have an advantage to be successful in contrast to other minorities. The development of her idea into speaking directly against Asian-American hate was a homework assignment for the AP class; submitting a podcast to the annual NPR Student Podcast Challenge.

“I just knew this was my one chance… I have to talk about this, so I dived into it the night before it was due.”

Yu’s goal to bring awareness to the topic goes beyond educating others, but how to do so productively.

Photo Credits to Kristy Yu.

“I know people post it on their social media and try to bring awareness to it, but when you’re just reposting these attacks and you’re reposting these different stories with no context, nothing talking about what happened leading up to it, where you should go after this, what you should do… It’s performative activism. While you are bringing some attention to it, you’re just reposting somebody else’s attack and gore.”

On the contrary, she explains that a podcast conveys emotions while speaking that entices an audience more than words on a screen, in addition to the benefit of including resources where people can go to learn and educate themselves. 

Yu describes that due to West Covina’s high Asian population, her friends and family face the occasional snide glares or immature jokes, but she shared her first connection to Asian-American attacks that occurred in the beginning of April.

“In Monterey Park, there’s this really popular Dim Sum place that my family actually goes to… There was an incident where somebody had a gun and shot people. That really shook us to the core, as we’d go there ourselves to eat dim sum. When we saw these attacks and nobody helping, it already instilled that fear in us.

Music BBQ Bar. Photo credits to

I can say this for a lot of Asians that it was always a worry in the back of our minds, like, do I have to defend myself today?”

These attacks have also prompted her to have difficult conversations regarding their safety with her family. With advice to keep locations on, respond in a timely manner, not go out alone, and overall being aware of their surroundings, Yu says she worries for her grandparents and parents. In a growing racially-aware world, she also calls for change in the school system; recruiting racially diverse staff, education regarding history about Asian cultures, and culturally diverse events. The prospect of another podcast is definitive of a “maybe”.

“My intent was to have people hear my voice. When somebody reached out and told me that they’d like to interview me, I know that my podcast, my voice, has reached ears. If I can get these people to hear me, imagine if I had a bigger platform and the people I could reach then. There’s always room to educate yourself and so I feel like that’s what everyone should always do.”