Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian hate has been on the rise. Point Scholar, Peyton Liu (she / her), said that her role, especially in recent years, continues to be to fight against social and familial pressures.
Earlier this year, Payton found out that her classmates were posting on social media calling COVID the “Wuhan Virus” and the “Chinese Virus.” She took screenshots and alerted the Associated Students of Irvine Valley College, which prompted a message from the Honors program about the importance of combating anti-Asian hate on campus. To build community and visibility, Peyton works to “continuously inspire more people to express themselves in this community and recognize people who share the same identity around them.”
Peyton’s experience is not an isolated one. According to a Pew Research Center study in 2021, more than 80% of Asian Americans said violence against them was on the rise, and 45% of Asian Americans experienced a hate crime between March 2020 and March 2021. Much of the violence was rooted in racist scapegoating about the COVID pandemic. At the same time, Asian Americans are part of the fastest growing racial demographic in the United States in the last 20 years, with over 20 million Asian Americans in 2021. The Williams Institute estimates that there are approximately 685,000 LGBTQ Asian American adults living at the intersection of this anti-Asian hate, homophobia, and—for Asian American women—misogyny.
Peyton Liu is studying Public Health at Irvine Valley College. Raised in a traditional Chinese home, Peyton said she dealt with pressure from her family. “My parents are very strict with my studies and personal life. They hope that I can complete the higher education they failed to complete and hope that I can marry a man and have a traditional Chinese family in the future. But in fact, my life journey is a process of fighting against their and social expectations.“
Peyton is pushing back against the traditional culture and norms of Chinese society. She is a volunteer with The Chinese Rainbow Network, the largest Mandarin-speaking LGBTQ+ network in North America. Through this volunteer work, Peyton has met many LGBTQ Asian American women role models, who, Peyton says, “let me find the warmth of the world and the encouragement of my faith during my most confusing times.”
While The Chinese Rainbow Network and Point Foundation have provided support for Peyton during the pandemic, she continues to face racism in her daily life. As a young scholar hoping to one day attend medical school, Peyton is well on her way to achieving her dreams of pushing her community forward and bringing more power to action.
Learn more about Peyton Liu and the rest of Point Foundation’s Community College Scholars here.