BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — In the wake of a racist on-campus attack, Asian American students at Indiana University in Bloomington held a listening circle Friday to share concerns, fears and frustrations.
The event stemmed from an incident on Wednesday, where police said an IU student was stabbed in the back of her head as she tried to get off her bus at a stop on 4th St. in Bloomington.
”After Wednesday, I immediately feel unsafe taking the bus,” said IU student Zheng Zhou.
Zhou was one of several students who met Friday afternoon in IU’s Asian Culture Center. There, students talked about the attack, their fears and rising concerns.
”This is a very vulnerable moment that we feel and it’s a moment we need support from each other the most,” Zhou said.
Court docs show police arrested 56-year-old Billie Davis and detail how Davis admitted to the attack, saying she did it due to the victim “being Chinese” and the victim “would be one less person to blow up our country.”
”The fact that it’s a racially-targeted, racially-motivated crime is just really troubling to all Asian students on campus,” said IU sophomore Kaitelyn Wo.
Wo shared her own fears after the incident.
”This happened in the middle of the day,” she said. “I take that bus literally every single day from my apartment.”
Also in attendance at the listening circle was IU leadership. Wo said they all had a productive conversation and she hopes there are more in the future.
”There needs to be some brainstorming done, some plans put in places to continue this work in to the future,” Wo said.
The students also wrote notes to the victim, letting them know they support her.
“I wish her fast recovery and be strong and we all have her back so she doesn’t have to worry or fear for anything because we will all stand together,” Zhou said.
But Wo said it’s important for every community on campus to stand up and support their fellow student and Hoosier.
”We need to see other communities on campus like White students on campus, Black students on campus, Latinx students on campus,” Wo said. “Everybody, it’s all of our responsibility to come together and support this student.”
Beverly Calender-Anderson, the Director of the Community and Family Resources Dept. for the City of Bloomington, said the city stands with the Asian American students and community.
”I can’t imagine being that young woman’s parent and hearing that, I can’t imagine being her,” Calender-Anderson said.
She said she wants people to report hate crimes like this one to the city Human Rights Commission.
”It helps us to track things, it helps us to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the community,” Calender-Anderson said.
Wo hopes this is a call to everyone to watch out for the people around them, because no one should be afraid to ride the bus.
”Being aware of your surroundings when you’re in public, standing up for people when they are suffering or when you see something that might look suspicious just speaking up,” she said.
Davis is currently in the Monroe County Jail charged with attempted murder. As of right now, it’s unclear if she will be charged with a hate crime in this attack.