As senseless, violent hate crimes targeting Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) surged since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, co-organizers Michelle Tran, Kenji Jones, and Tiffany Yuen knew they had to take action. Saddened by this xenophobia and sickened at how many attacks have targeted the most vulnerable, they formed Soar Over Hate to equip folks to better protect themselves and fight back against anti-Asian hate.
Since late March 2021, they have distributed 30,000+ personal alarms, whistles, and pepper spray across New York and California. They organized AAPI Care Fairs and other events, serving thousands with free self defense devices, self defense classes, puppy therapy, meditation classes, mental health referrals, hepatitis B screening, and more.
Soar Over Hate serves the AAPI community in other ways through their need-based Bright Futures Scholarship for high school seniors. They have a Heal From Hate Therapy Fund to provide free culturally competent therapy to victims of anti-Asian hate incidents. They are excited to continue expanding these programs and distributions of more self defense materials with the help of donors like you.
A 2.5-generation Chinese and Vietnamese American from Los Angeles, Michelle moved to Houston for her undergradate studies at Rice University before coming to New York City for her MD/PhD studies at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Passionate about Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) disparities and concerns, she helps lead her school's Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association chapter and sits on the hospital's Committee Against Anti-Asian Bias and Racism. She also volunteers as a mentor for Apex for Youth in Chinatown. She started this initiative in the wake of the Atlanta Spa Shootings after feeling saddened and angered at hate crimes occuring to Asian Americans around her. She was recently recognized as a 2021 L'Oréal Women of Worth Honoree.
A third-generation Japanese American, Kenji moved from Seattle, Washington to New York City to study digital marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology. True to his form, Kenji used Instagram to raise tens of thousands dollars within a few days to purchase pepper spray for Asian Americans in NYC and became connected to Michelle and Soar Over Hate through social media! In addition to serving the AAPI community through Soar Over Hate, Kenji serves as a COVID-19 outreach manager at the APICHA community health center.
Howard is a first-generation Chinese immigrant who moved to the U.S. at the age of 10 and has since become a true New Yorker at heart. During his free time he loves playing basketball, strolling through the city trying new vegan foods with Michelle, and mentoring Asian youth as an Apex for Youth mentor. As incidents of anti-Asian hate crime rose exponentially around the neighborhoods he calls home, Howard knew he couldn't sit idly by and wanted to take action by getting involved with Soar Over Hate.
Event Coordination Lead
A California native, Molly moved to New York City to pursue a career in architectural design and fabrication. She currently sits as DEI co-chair for her workplace and has done work in community outreach in the past. Having found comfort away from home in NYC’s Chinatowns and amongst other APIA friends in NYC, she is invested in supporting this community however she can - now including as an Event Coordinator for Soar Over Hate!
Ana Luo Cai
Research and Policy Co-Lead
Ana is a Research and Policy Lead at Soar Over Hate. She is a first-generation immigrant born in Peru to a Chinese family and moved to NYC at a young age. Currently, Ana works full-time at the Office of the NYC Public Advocate as a Legislative and Policy Associate and sits on the board of the nonprofit OCA-NY. Her deep investment and passion for NYC-based issues, serving Asian/immigrant communities, and advocacy and policy work is what ties all her professional and volunteer experiences together. She is thrilled to be a part of SOH!
Youth Leader, Founding Member
A second-generation Chinese American and native New Yorker, Tiffany is a 9th grader and a mentee at Apex for Youth in Manhattan's Chinatown. Tiffany hopes she can help and protect as many people in the community as possible. She helped start Soar Over Hate as part of a mentor-mentee end-of-the-year project at Apex for Youth with Michelle.
Medical Volunteer, Photographer
A second-generation Taiwanese American originally from Southern California, Derek moved to the East Coast for his undergraduate studies at Yale University. He currently is a medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai studying to be an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) surgeon. He is passionate about serving the AAPI community in New York City and supporting Soar Over Hate through photography as well as medical volunteering.
Social Media Coordinator
A New Mexico native, Helen moved to New York City in 2017 for college and stayed for the diversity, art, and availability of late-night boba. She first got involved in Soar Over Hate at an AAPI Care Fair and is now a Social Media Coordinator. After studying biology at Columbia, she works in HIV clinical research and spends her spare time watering her plants, exploring the city with her dog, studying for the MCAT, and trying out all the yuzu-flavored desserts she can
Hailing from Houston, Texas, Eric currently lives in Manhattan. Because he is incredibly thankful for the meaningful experiences he has had working with the Asian community in New York, he is excited to help out with Soar Over Hate as a Fundraising Lead. Eric is currently a sophomore at Columbia University studying biology.
Public Relations (PR) and Partnerships Lead
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Carol is a first-generation Chinese American and soon-to-be alumni at NYU studying Media, Culture, and Communications with a focus in Entertainment Business. Besides school, she works at Universal Pictures as a Brand Marketing Intern, sits on the e-board of The Women’s Network as VP of DEI, and is a Commuter Assistant. From receiving personal safety devices for herself and her family from Kenji Jones’ graciousness when hate crimes first rose to having a blast at the SOH Care Fair with her dog working in puppy therapy, she has been inspired to give back to the organization that has uplifted her. Her past experiences interning in entertainment marketing and media PR/Partnerships now lends to her devotion for supporting the NYC community that raised her to be the woman she is today.
Event Coordination Lead
Janet is a second-generation Chinese American born and raised in New York City. She is passionate about bringing awareness to anti-Asian violence and the inequalities that the AAPI community faces. She first got involved with Soar Over Hate by volunteering at their AAPI Care Fair. After seeing the work that Soar Over Hate was doing to protect the community, she knew she had to get involved. Janet is a fulltime student pursuing her degree in Accounting and currently works at the NYC Department of Education.
Web Development Lead
Research and Policy Co-Lead
Rebecca currently lives in Washington DC as a Cybersecurity Data Engineer for a tech company. She is passionate about using data to highlight gender and racial disparities and advocate for policy reform. As a second-generation Chinese American, Rebecca is committed to supporting Soar Over Hate in protecting AAPI community members and calling attention to rising anti-Asian sentiment. She also volunteers with MEASURE Austin, the American Red Cross, as well as organizations supporting women in technology.
Leanne is from San Gabriel, California and moved to Brooklyn in 2016. She works as a full-time designer for the American Civil Liberties Union and also creates art to support small businesses and nonprofits through print fundraisers. Leanne feels very grateful to get to work with Soar Over Hate on projects that empower and aid the Asian community. My fun fact: she is a certified Washington state Apprentice Beekeeper and loves shih tzus.
Former Website Designer
A 2.5-generation Chinese and Vietnamese American and younger sister of Michelle, Tamara originally became involved in Soar Over Hate by creating their website. Since then, she has been involved in spreading their organization's growth to California. Tamara currently in her junior year at Duke University studying Computer Science and Biology.
Mental Health Co-Lead
A Chinese American raised in the UK, Sofia is a soon-to-be graduate at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, studying Sociology and Civic Engagement, as well as East Asian Studies. Outside of class, Sofia co-leads her university’s refugee advocacy group, which ties into her passion for public health and serving displaced peoples and Asian/immigrant communities. Sofia is excited to be a part of the Soar Over Hate team as a Mental Health Lead!
Mental Health Co-Lead
A first-generation Korean American immigrant raised in Texas and Illinois, Peter moved to the East Coast to study economics at Yale University before beginning his career in software engineering and management consulting. Peter currently works as a Strategy and Operations Lead at US Mobile, a venture-backed telecom startup based in New York City. Passionate about Asian American organizing and social impact, Peter co-led his university’s chapter of the Asian American Students Alliance and previously founded a nonprofit geared towards connecting young people of color with professional mentors in politics.