We cannot allow the COVID-19 to serve as a vehicle for racism or xenophobia. Help avoid discrimination and stigma around coronavirus.
Check these illustrations, sparks and stories submitted by Voices of Youth contributors around the world to spread kindness and support each other.
You can also share your messages of support, comics or poems against stigma and discrimination with the hashtag #voicesofyouth. Or submit your content through our website. Be safe, be kind.
For more information about COVID-19, visit UNICEF.org/coronavirus.
"Uh, you have Corona!"
"At school, someone made a "joke": "Uh, you have Corona!" Even though it was meant to be "fun" and just a "joke", I found it to be racism. An elderly woman looked at me intensely in the Munich subway. Shortly thereafter, she pulled her scarf to protect her mouth and nose and quickly passed me.
I was having dinner with my brother and on the way home, towards the subway, two young people shouted at us: "Corona!" In two out of three cases, I made people aware that they had made racist comments and should stop doing so in the future. What remained in me after these three encounters was a bitter aftertaste. When I'm in public, I feel watched and uncomfortable. On the train, I have the feeling that nobody wants to sit with me because of my Asian descent. A constant feeling of malaise, exclusion and anger accompanies me.
Even stronger is the desire to speak out against it publicly and my zest for action: in times like these, people should inform and educate themselves. Don't believe everything in the mainstream media. Show yourself friendly and in solidarity.
Take care of yourself and stay at home for the benefit of society and above all the risk groups! My experiences are just a few of many. In discussions with Asian family members and friends, it became clear that racism against Asians is a common problem in times of Covid-19. We cannot allow that as a democratic society." Claudia, 18, Germany.
Stigma stops us from moving forward.
"A picture is worth a thousand words, and it helps us understand that stigma leads to misinformation and discrimination. That stops us from moving forward."
Clara, 23, Spain. (Follow her on Instagram)
"Stigmatization in a context like this is not dangerous just because it triggers racism and xenophobia, but most of all because it puts everyone at risk. Many people could fake not to have the virus just because of being scared of being labelled as “the one with the Coronavirus”."
Elisabetta, 23, Italy. Read her article here.
Although the concerns over the coronavirus are understandable, the stereotypes and exclusion are not. Instead of excluding an entire race, we should try to support them as a form of solidarity. It is imperative to see us in all our diversity and challenge the existing stereotypes.
Paavani, 15, India. Read her article here.
"Social media has not only propagated doubtful rumours on the emergence of the virus, but also has brought forth absurd methods for prevention. It must be noted that not only infectious diseases like Corona are linked to discrimination and prejudice. For many patients with genetic and chronic disease, being labelled, stereotyped and separated has become daily routine."
Yasmin, 21, Germany. Read her article here.
Fight the virus, not the people
”Together, we can. Together, we unite!” Robby, 24, Indonesia (Follow him on Instagram)
Let’s love and respect people who are working hard in tough times.
"For now, i'm working from home, in Ulaanbaatar. Following the strict routine and guidance given by police and health organization is one of the best way to keep ourselves safe from the COVID-19".
Binderiya, 24, Mongolia (Follow her on Instagram)
Discrimination is not justified. Be kind!
Diana, Honduras. (Follow her on Instagram)
It's about humanity and kindness
"It's really childish of people to put labels on everything and put location even on a virus. I think that we all are talking about humanity and love and kindness. True, there are people out there really fighting with this problem but still we see it happening all around the world."
Golbarg, 14, Iran (follow him on Instagram)
Titis, 28, Indonesia
"Keep yourself clean and healthy, people! Take care of yourselves ??We can fight the virus ? " (Follow her on Instagram)
"Please do not only think of yourself as you manage the corona virus outbreak. This is a pandemic that we need to tackle as a COMMUNITY." (Follow her on Instagram)
Discrimination should never be allowed
"People need to realize that the coronavirus infects ALL human beings, but it seems to have spread a more venomous infection into certain minds dealing with racism and stereotyping. We need to enlighten these individuals that the coronavirus, and any other views that instigate a form of discrimination, should never be allowed in our society."
Andrea, 21, United States of America (follow her on Instagram)