South Philly’s Wei Chen Wins Peace Prize for Battling Anti-Asian Violence

He organized students to protest, creating a movement that captured the city's attention.

Hard to believe it’s been four years since Wei Chen emerged into the spotlight, then an 18-year-old senior at South Philly High who had witnessed too much violence against Asian students and decided he wasn’t going to take it anymore. His efforts resulted in new administration at the school and a renewed focus on violence across the district.

Now, the Inquirer reports, Chen is one of the first recipients of the Peace First Prize.

The $50,000 fellowship, spread over two years, will allow Chen to focus solely on organizing Asian youth in Philadelphia, forgoing various part-time jobs he’s held in child care and restaurants.

“There are not a lot of resources for [Asian students] to talk about a fight or another issue in their school,” Chen said in an interview Sunday night.

He is an organizer of Asian Americans United in Philadelphia, leading workshops and training at schools that include the history of discrimination and social justice.

Chen emigrated from China when he was 16.