COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma: Nikki

Systemic oppression is always there, but it usually goes on unnoticed, like the humming sound from the fridge or heater –– it’s in the background. COVID-19 brings racism to the foreground and exposes existing inequities. I’m hoping as people feel angered by the racist incidents, that we would also look into the structures that uphold racism and inequities and work to take them down, so that the world after the pandemic can be truly transformed.


On Monday, President Trump snapped at Chinese American reporter Weijia Jiang during a press conference, telling her she “should ask China” her question. The same day, rock star Bryan Adams posted a xenophobic rant to Instagram, “Thanks to some bat eating, wet market animal selling, virus making greedy bastards, the whole world is now on hold.” Increased racist rhetoric is leading to increased violence. People of Asian descent around the world are reporting more attacks, beatings, and violent bullying. In Canada, three assaults in eight days targeted Asian women wearing masks. One sociologist at the University of Manchester has begun studying “maskaphobia,” discrimination and racism against people wearing face masks. We can fight this racism with counternarratives and positive images like the ones here. You can help. Please share. Thank you.

I am resourceful
I am versatile
I am joyful
I am ever-changing
I am impatient


Pictured: “Nikki” Châu, or Châu Ngọc Trân, is a child of the Phạm, Trần, and Châu families, a child of the foggy hills of the K’Ho, Churu, and Maa peoples, and a child of the waterways of Central Việt Nam that connect to the Coast Salish via the Pacific Ocean. Nikki is dedicated to the lifelong work of learning and advocating for a world without systemic, interpersonal, and internalized violence. She has worked in UX Design and teaching yoga. She is an avid fan of xianxia, cats, durian, and instant noodle.

COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma is a portrait campaign to help combat increased racism against people of color during the pandemic, raise awareness about the disproportionate impacts of coronavirus on communities of color, and prioritize safety instead of stigma by the public.

Safety notes: These photos were taken at safe distance outside using a 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens. I wore a mask and sanitized my equipment immediately following. Please remember the CDC recommends at least 6-ft or more of distance from those outside your family cluster.

This project is funded in part by 4Culture

Leave a Reply