Last week, my mom and I called my sister on the phone to catch up. Usually we talk about new recipes or her dog.

But this time mom’s first question was “sweetie, what are you gonna do if you get attacked?” Not a standard greeting, I’m sure, but greatly relevant.

Over the last year, anti-Asian violence has become more and more severe all over the United States, but particularly in California. Unfortunately, that’s where my sister lives.

“You literally need to get a baseball bat,” I tell her, “or pepper spray. Pepper spray might be less conspicuous.”

My sister disagreed. “That won’t work for me, I’m so clumsy I’ll spray myself in the face with it, and then I’ll have to run away while crying.”

In the end, we agreed that she’d keep her bicycle helmet with her at all times for self-defense.



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Emilie Zhang