AAPI Teen’s Social Justice Artwork to ‘End Violence’ Against Asian Americans Wins Congressional Art Contest Prize

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — This AAPI Heritage Month, we spotlight a young man from the Peninsula whose art caught the attention of a prominent Bay Area leader for his message of social justice.

For 15-year-old high school student Lucas Du, playing the piano is just one of the many ways he expresses his creativity. But it’s not about tickling the ivories. It’s about how reporting on hate crimes and attacks on Asian Americans — many of them shattered by ABC7’s Dion Lim — inspired Lucas to use his creativity in another way.

RELATED: Bay Area Badminton Champions Team Up With World-Renowned Pizza Maker For ‘Panda Pie’ Fundraiser

“That’s why I drew this painting, and I hope it will raise people’s awareness,” Du said.

In the sketch-turned-painting entitled “End The Violence”, Lucas explains the three scenes.

In the upper left corner, there is an image of a man, falling face down on a cobblestone sidewalk. In 2021, Lim told the story of dozens of attacks in Oakland’s Chinatown, including a 90-year-old man being violently pushed to the ground.

“There’s an elderly woman with a bandage on her head, and on the bottom left there are people demonstrating to end the violence,” said Lucas, from the family home in Millbrae.

VIDEO: Our America: Because I Am | Full episode

This painting was part of a contest Lucas entered at Mills High School for United Against Hate week. He then decided to submit it to the Congressional Art Competition, a nationwide contest encouraging artistic talent in every congressional district.

When asked if he expected to win, he replied: “No, not at all. I had a lot of emotions, happy, shocked, nervous mostly.”

Lucas ended up taking third place. Congresswoman Jackie Speier introduced him and the other District 14 winners at an awards ceremony in Hillsborough this month.

But for his mother Minfang Gao, an immigrant from Shanghai, this recognition is part of an even greater accomplishment.

TAKE ACTION: Resources to help the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community

“As a minority, if you don’t speak for yourself, your voice will never be heard. I want him to be proud to be Asian American. I’m very proud of him,” Gao said. .

As Du continues to pursue his many hobbies such as martial arts and volunteering in his community, he encourages other young people with this message.

RELATED: ABC7’s Dion Lim, AAPI Leaders and Visionaries Visit the White House

“I believe you should go out and do whatever you want, even something as little as… painting,” Du.

Because you never know what might happen. Lucas’ art, along with that of the 2nd place winner, will hang in Congresswoman Speier’s office for the rest of the year.

If you’re on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All rights reserved.