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A Letter to My Brother

BY GERALD GAO (staff writer)

Dear George,

I know a letter may not change anything, but I couldn't get over it. George, as your brother and someone who's been through what you're going through soon, I am writing to give you some suggestions to help you avoid going in the wrong direction and repeating some of my previous failures.

In 2019, I came to America to study, to live, and to deal with everything here. As an Asian, a second language speaker (English), and an outsider, I confronted a variety of obstacles and difficulties. Those difficulties, like being excluded in a friend group, teased by others, and homesickness, will also surround you very often. Although racism has been reduced in recent years by education in the school and extensive promotion by people, it still exists.. Asian discrimination is getting worse in contemporary society, and sometimes it can be dangerous. When facing those things, I want you to be confident, mature, and resourceful. Seeking help from teachers is a piece of good advice I would give you, not only in academics, but in all aspects of your life. Teachers are adults with rich experiences, so they are able to understand your situation and perceive your various issues.

In March 2021, an Asian student studying at the University of Chicago named Zheng Shaoxiong was killed by a robber with guns on the street. He did everything the robber asked him to do, giving all his money, his phone, and his jewelry. However, the bullet still went through his chest and ended his life. Zheng’s mother had never come to the US, and her first trip was to attend the funeral of her son. After listening to his mother’s speech, I was in tears and full of abhorrence and rage. A precocious, energetic, and talented young man with endless possibilities in the future died innocently. His hard work and accomplishments were all in vain, which is a huge loss to a family and a country. But George, when you step onto a foreign land, you must be brave and know how to protect yourself! The racial tensions in the United States are more severe now, and this is something you must know in advance. The school campus is always safe, and it is important to stay in a safe community.

Another thing I want to talk about is being proud. In China, you were with me at all the schools I transferred to. You have overcome the same challenges that I have encountered. It is those days of going upstream together to overcome adversity with calmness and courage that make us continue to pursue higher dreams in America. It is our relentless effort and unconquerable spirit that make us talk so eloquently about our experiences today. I'm really proud of myself, and so are you.

George, I want you to strive carefully, but also boldly, to unleash the unknown possibilities. I had myself when I was down, and you have you! May everything go by your will!

Your brother,


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