Medical student and community organizer extraordinaire, Michelle founded Soar Over Hate in response to the escalation of anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020. With a focus on equipping Asian-Americans with personal safety devices (personal alarms, pepper spray, whistles) Michelle has raised over $100,000 to help the most vulnerable in her community feel more protected and empowered.
I’m a PHD student in New York City. After the COVID-19 pandemic started, I began seeing a concurrent pandemic of racism, as I’ve been calling it. It started to affect circles close to me. I had a medical student colleague attacked on their way home from the hospital—they were pushed to the ground and called “Chinese Virus.” Another friend of mine, a lab mate, got off the subway and was repeatedly punched in the head. Beyond that, it was just so sad to see so many vulnerable elderly people attacked, especially those who couldn’t speak English. I needed to find a way to equip the AAPI community with personal safety devices. And Soar Over Hate was born.
It's been a lot to balance everything with school and Soar Over Hate, but helping out with this issue, something so close to home, is super important to me.
I would define daring as being willing to be who you are—fearlessly.-Michelle Tran
I was visiting a friend who works at the NRDC, which is an environmental organization. He was striving to live a zero waste lifestyle. It inspired me. And I realized through him that it could be pretty easy. So I reflected on my own diet and realized I just wasn’t getting much joy from the meat that I was eating. There’s so many meat alternatives out there, so it’s easy to make the switch. And it’s the best way to make an impact as an individual who cares about the environment.
I would define daring as being willing to be who you are—fearlessly—and not worrying about what others might think. Find something that's important to you and pursue it. I knew that I couldn't just sit idly by, especially after the Atlanta spa shootings, seeing women who look just like me getting killed. It was after that week that I started to fundraise. So it’s about daring to go out there and be committed to something that you care about.
“Speaking out about it wasn't enough. I wanted to go out there and do something.”- Michelle Tran