Ryan Ho (I) Makes Magic for AAPI Elders


Tamron Hall Show

Ryan Ho (I) is featured for his efforts in the Stop Asian Hate movement.

On September 28, Boston Latin School student Ryan Ho (I) won the Disney Magic Makers Award for his advocacy of the elderly Asian community.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the rate of anti-Asian hate has spiked across the country, with hate crimes increasing by 73 percent in 2020. In June of 2021, Ho, his younger brother Kyle Ho, and his friends Brendan Stezo, Alexander McCay and Justin Mok raised over 6,000 dollars on GoFundMe to defend elderly members of the Asian American community.

Thanks to an outpour of support, the team met their goal of 4,000 dollars in just one weekend. The money was spent on over 1,000 alarm devices that people could carry with them to deter potential assailants and signal for help. These devices mostly went to elderly Asian Americans in Boston’s Chinatown area.

Ho’s work earned national recognition, and his group was selected along with 29 others among 30,000 applicants for the Disney Magic Makers Contest. Disney, celebrating the Magic Makers’ 50th Anniversary, showed its appreciation for heroes who work to keep their communities safe by awarding them with a free trip to Disney World.

Regarding his motivation for this initiative, Ho explains, “After seeing all these hate crimes occurring across the country, I personally wanted to find a way to be able to help these families […] It’s simple, but it helps people, and I think that’s one of the key points.”

This past September, the group sat down for a virtual interview with the Tamron Hall Show on live television, where they were surprised with the news that they had won the competition. During the interview, Ho revealed that his key motive for taking the initiative was his concern for his own grandmother.

Ho repeatedly stresses the importance of students stepping up and finding ways to protect and serve their communities — even if it feels insignificant and is not rewarded with community service.

Head of School Rachel Skerritt adds, “Character is who you are when no one’s looking. It’s really important that you’re thinking about others […] and live out our core values, whether or not there’s a Disney contest involved […] Small actions can have ripple effects.”