91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Voter Voices: "Money is important, but safety is even more important."

Sophie Yang
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio
Sophie Yang at her parents' restaurant, Golden Wall, before it permanently closed.

The COVID-19 pandemic upended life for everyone in Michigan. Thousands of Michiganders have died, and over a hundred thousand have gotten sick. Many more people are struggling financially, especially those in the restaurant industry.

People like 28 year-old Sophie Yang. She lives in Troy. Her parents' restaurant, Golden Wall in Ypsilanti, closed permanently on September 30. Now, Yang's parents have lost their only source of income.

On shutting down the family restaurant

"Golden Wall has been around for 16 years. My dad started this restaurant. As an immigrant, he knew that he had to find another way to not be in poverty anymore.

"You know, with the pandemic and everything, business have definitely gone down, especially being like Chinese and stuff. And we're not the only one that's impacted by it, but a lot of Chinatown was pretty empty because people were fearful of it.

Voter Voices

"We shut down a little earlier than anticipated. And also longer duration. Most of it was because of COVID, and then safety. My sister convinced my parents not to open the restaurant because she was very concerned with their safety. It was just that, like a lot of the articles that we were reading... like in Texas, there was this article that an Asian family [got] stabbed and stuff. Sometimes it's good to not to not read too many articles because then you start to think that, 'oh, this could happen to you.' And more fear and whatnot.

"When Trump said 'Chinese virus,' I don't think it's OK. You can't you can't just say Chinese people equals virus because that creates racism and violence.

"But that was, you know, like money is important, but safety is even more important."

Want to support reporting like this? Consider making a gift to Michigan Radio today.

Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Public in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the summer of 2020.
Related Content