Amid the ‘Manic Panic,’ a Call for Coronavirus Heroes

It seems like the “manic panic” from the coronavirus pandemic went from stress level one to one million within a week.

To be real-real, at first, I was not buying into the hysteria. But when I started hearing about people ransacking stores for staples like rice, pasta and toilet paper (I still don’t get the toilet paper scarcity mindset y’all, can someone please explain?), I thought I might have been underestimating the situation. Feelings of panic began to surge.

Then it hit me.

All these years of coping with personal tragedies have taught me a few things about dealing with personal, professional and spiritual stress:

  1. Breathe. When you start to worry about anything, focus on your breath and breathe deeply 10 times in and out. It also helps to focus on the energy running through your fingers. That’s a tip I picked up from spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle.
  2. Get some exercise. If you can go on a walk. If you are quarantined, research YouTube and do workouts from home. My friends at the San Francisco CrossFit are posting online workouts from home on their website.
  3. Look for the helpers. That’s where there’s hope. This is sage wisdom from the late Mr. Fred Rogers. I’ve taken this another step and reached out to a hero I was inspired by when I started to feel powerless.

Last week, I was on the lookout for heroes and I found Ashley Gin Fong Linker. Her chance encounter with an elderly Asian woman in New York City gave me hope. Here’s her post in the private Facebook group “Asian Hustle Network”:

I called my friend, Benny Luo, founder of NextShark to brainstorm ways to quell the coronavirus craze. 

I was saddened to discover they’ve been inundated with emails and DMs about the outbreak of attacks on the global Asian community. He told me that we all need to do whatever is in our power to lift one another up. 

As a journalist and someone who loves leveraging storytelling to inspire audiences to action, I knew I could create some content to help raise awareness and empathy. That’s when the idea struck. I reached out to Ashley (Facebook/Instagram) to start the conversation around the racism and xenophobia.

We had a heartfelt conversation and decided to record this Instagram Live conversation, a follow-up to what happened after her act of kindness. I hope this helps you calm your nerves and inspires you to think about what you can do to elevate the human experience. WE have more power than we know. Don’t feel powerless, regain your power and take action.

What can you do?

Don’t panic, take action:

  1. Use your power to help. Toan is a journalist whose gift of connecting with people led him to share stories like Ashley’s.
  2. Ashley is a badass black belt-wielding woman who walked home a terrified Asian grandmother who was afraid of being attacked.
  3. Like/share this conversation. The more awareness around this topic, the more healing will take place.

When I hear stories like Ashley’s, I couldn’t help but think about how that one kind act — walking a frightened po-po home — affected her, restored humanity for her and comforted her.

Be safe, be well. Check on an elderly neighbor and the immunocompromised. Air hug!


* Special thanks to @nextshark and @angryasianman for keeping us up to date on the latest news about how the coronavirus craze is affecting our communities.

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