Tesoro Teen Founds Global Movement: Dear Asian Youth

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Courtesy of Stephanie Hu

Stephanie Hu (11) is the founder of the worldwide movement Dear Asian Youth. The movement strives toward helping minorities, especially Asians, accept and take pride in their identities.

Gabby Laurente, Managing Editor

Dear Asian Youth is a non-profit organization founded by Stephanie Hu which “strives to empower, educate, and uplift Asian youths.” After its startup in May, Dear Asian Youth already has over 140 worldwide chapters in seventeen countries. 

Stephanie Hu is currently a junior at Tesoro High School, who moved to Orange County from China in eighth grade. Inspired by the xenophobia she experienced after the start of quarantine, Hu decided to create a movement to combat all the hatred.

“I really noticed an increase in xenophobia against people who especially looked like East Asians, and that was kind of the breaking point,” said Hu. “In South Orange County, where it’s honestly a pretty white community, there wasn’t a ton of effort ever to really accept my own identity. It was years of that in addition to xenophobia that really prompted me.”

On their main Instagram account, the team has racked up over 58,000 followers. Hu never expected the movement to gain so much traction so rapidly. “In truth, in the beginning it was supposed to be a platform where I could publish my own poetry relating to the Asian-American experience. It never was meant to be an organization, it kind of just spontaneously happened to build up into this.”

With the support of her friends, the movement began to grow as more and more people began to share what started as a simple Instagram account. Soon enough, people began wanting to share their own experiences on the platform in an effort to be more inclusive and vocal about Asian-American integration. 

It’s been super rewarding because not only have I been able to really accept my own identity, but it’s helping other people accept their identity”

— Hu

“For a while it really turned into an area for Asian creators to write stuff, and that was all we did for around a month. Then we started to expand,” said Hu. “I think that the main catalyst for everything that we worked towards was social media and having some of our posts essentially go viral.”

“It’s been super rewarding because not only have I been able to really accept my own identity, but it’s helping other people accept their identity. Making friends with literally Internet strangers and becoming best friends with them, and just building a lot of meaningful connections,” said Hu.

Hu recognizes her best friend, Sunna, as her biggest supporter. “I know the right answer would be my parents, but they live back in China so they haven’t seen a lot of the background work we’ve been doing. I’d have to give it up to my friend Sunna, she’s actually the assistant director of Dear Asian Youth, and she’s also my best friend. She really has stuck with me since the beginning- since we were really really small, and has been a huge person that I’ve been able to lean on this entire time. I don’t think Dear Asian Youth would be where it is today without her work,” said Hu.

Dear Asian Youth now has grown to host podcasts, campaigns, and different literature pieces. Asian youth has come together in a battle against discrimination and racism to form a platform where minorities alike can share their experiences. 

While xenophobia remains prevalent in our society,  the work of Stephanie Hu and the Dear Asian Youth team  allows young Asians to feel more comfortable in their own skin and embrace, rather than suppress, their origins.