Esther Eng-Tsang

VIA20

NY, USA

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Challenge

We are currently in the midst of a worldwide pandemic that has affected students, educators, families and communities greatly. Even before we transitioned from the school classroom to the online one, my students were dealing with the effects of the coronavirus. Many came to school and spoke of dinnertime conversations that involved acts of racism and discrimination towards Asians due to the news surrounding nCovid-19. Families were and continue to be scared. For the month leading up to school closures, my students weren't focused on the curricula, they wanted to talk about the news and how it was affecting them and their families. Once schools closed, the neighborhood began to change. Within a week or so, all the neighborhood supermarkets closed. All but a handful of restaurants closed. The bustling second Chinatown of New York City became a food desert. Despite the mayor and governor saying that it was okay to go outside, many of our school's students have been home and the last time they were outside was the last time they were in school. Families are scared and don't know what to do. Our students are facing challenges with food, racism, misinformation and on top of that-transitioning to remote learning. In these times of crisis, there is an overwhelming amount of information circulating the internet. Many if not all are inaccessible to our families who are predominantly first generation immigrants due to language and/or technology. Many of our families are receiving news from talking to others on the app WeChat because it is predominantly in Chinese. Our world is changing due to climate change, gentrification, and technological advances. These changes are amplifying the disparities that exist in communities of color. It happened during Hurricane Sandy and now, during this pandemic.

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