top of page

Wear a Mask

Wear a Mask
a poem by Julianne Tenorio

Dear Asian Youth,

march 11, 2020.

2 days before my school was shut down on that fateful friday the 13th.

1 day before it was announced that my extracurricular events were cancelled.

and most importantly,

the day when the World Health Organization declared that we were in a global pandemic.

at the time i’m writing this, it has been about 7 months since the reality we were all accustomed to began to crumble right in front of us

7 months!

over 8 million cases in the US

over 218,000 deaths

and 22 million jobs lost

we have lost so much--

loved ones




and the consequences we have faced from this pandemic cannot be more obvious,

yet this still isn’t enough for people to realize the importance of simply wearing a mask

we give scientific proof

concrete evidence

straight facts

and they give us nothing but unmasked noses

and stubborn reasoning:

“it restricts my breathing!’ “it makes me look like a sheep following the crowd!”

“covid-19 isn’t that bad, it’s just the flu!”

“i don’t need to wear a mask, just look at our president!”

to put it simply, hearing these statements, is infuriating.

it shouldn’t feel like an inconvenience, doing what’s best for yourself and others

and how is having something to cover your face and save lives

a valid reason to cause marches, riots, rallies?

is it your selfish mindset and slightest discomfort inhibiting you from helping others?

is it because when you think of a mask, you think safety as political?

is it because when our own president mocks his opponent for wearing one, you point and laugh, calling out others for simply following the rules?

or is it just because you think that you are above science

above the masses who are “brainwashed” into thinking this virus is serious

because it’s only the flu


do you know what it’s like to work on the front lines?

do you know what it’s like to feel the burdening effects weigh down on you?

i’m talking from personal experience: my mom plays a huge part in helping with this pandemic, and i’m not the only one who knows someone working in this field

my mom comes home at night later than she ever has before, each night she is more restless than the last

she puts her hands on her face as she tiredly says to me that she sees more samples are testing positive

and she doesn’t even let me touch her when she comes home, scared that she is still contaminated

and while she’s worried about the wellbeing of others

i’m engulfed in fear about what might happen to her.

seeing the carelessness people have, from crowded beaches to celebrities holding parties

it is




this is the first pandemic our generation has ever seen

with our 2020 vision clouded with our concern for the future

we can’t even count the days, each hour seems to blend with the rest

aren’t you tired of it?

aren’t you sick of it?

what is there to gain

from the loss of others?

so please, for the sake of yourself and everyone.


- Julianne Tenorio

Cover photo source:

bottom of page