Who will become Kid of the Year for 2021? The answer will be revealed on February 9 during a TV special on Nickelodeon. In the weeks leading up to the show, we’ll be introducing the top five nominees. Read on!
Mina Fedor and her mom were walking near their home, in Piedmont, California. A stranger coughed at her mom. Mina knew what it meant. Her mom is Korean. Lately, there has been a rise in discrimination and attacks against Asian Americans. They are fueled by a false belief that Asians are responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.
That moment was an eye-opener for Mina. She had to speak out against racism. So she and her friends organized a rally. It took place in Berkeley, California, in March 2021. Mina expected about 70 people. More than 1,200 showed up. They carried signs: “I Am Not a Virus” and “Stop Asian Hate!!!” Mina led the crowd on a march to a footbridge over a freeway. They posted their signs on the fence. Cars passing below honked in support.
Mina knows that racism isn’t new. But COVID-19 has brought a new wave of prejudice. Asian Americans fought back in the past. Like them, Mina is rising to her moment.
Spreading the Word
Mina is now 13. She isn’t new to activism. She went to her first rally in 2017. It was the Women’s March in Los Angeles. Mina might seem like a naturally outspoken kid, but that’s not the case. She has been described as quietly intense . At the Berkeley rally, she overcame her nervousness to speak to the crowd. She believes young people should be heard.
That day, Mina founded AAPI Youth Rising (AAPI stands for “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders”). This group of middle school activists worked to get a law passed. It makes teaching ethnic studies mandatory in California public high schools. The group also partners with national organizations to support education on racism, ethnic diversity, and AAPI issues in schools.
Many instances of anti-Asian discrimination are not reported in the news. That’s why Mina is outspoken. She won’t be silent in the face of hate.
Correction: An earlier version of this story noted that AAPI Youth Rising was working to get a law passed that would make teaching ethnic studies mandatory in California public schools. That law passed in October 2021.