Indiana Daily Student

After Atlanta shootings, IU Asian Culture Center plans educational events on anti-Asian racism

<p>Latrelle Rolling and Jessica Lang pause after dropping off flowers at Young&#x27;s Asian Massage where four people were killed last week in Acworth, Georgia. IU students say they are left devastated following the death of six women of Asian decent in last week’s shooting in Georgia.<br/></p>

Latrelle Rolling and Jessica Lang pause after dropping off flowers at Young's Asian Massage where four people were killed last week in Acworth, Georgia. IU students say they are left devastated following the death of six women of Asian decent in last week’s shooting in Georgia.

Eight people were killed last Tuesday at three different spas in Atlanta, six of whom were Asian women. Asian communities nationwide, including Bloomington, are uniting in response to these attacks that come after increasing anti-Asian sentiment following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and a misattribution of fault to Asian people.

Asian American community members at IU are reacting to the attacks in different ways such as amplifying petitions of support, planning events for the community and sharing their thoughts with others in the community.

The IU Asian Culture Center said in an email statement Wednesday it condemns the attacks and considers them violent, hateful and racist.

IU senior Kelly Fan, the social advocacy chair for the Asian American Association and assistant at the Asian Culture Center, said the Bloomington Asian community’s main response to the attacks are to offer various educational events. The events are open to anyone that wishes to participate, support the community and learn more about anti-Asian sentiment.

“This is very much an issue that is rooted in the racism of America,” Fan said.

Fan said other IU organizations, such as the African Students’ Association, Rainbow Coalition and the Black Student Union immediately reached out to offer their support with organizing events.

“It’s cool to find that we really weren’t that alone,” Fan said. “People were there for us if we really needed them to be.”

IU senior Kulsoom Tapal said the past few days have been difficult for them. They said the Atlanta attacks reminded them of the daily racism faced by those in the Asian community.

“Not only was this shooting a manifestation of anti-Asian racism at its worst, it is a result of misogyny and classism,” Tapal said.

Kevin Czachura, a graduate assistant at the Asian Cultural Center, said the Atlanta attacks were alarming yet expected. However, he also said he is hopeful for change in the future.

"I am glad that the general public seems to be waking up to the reality that the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has been facing,” Czachura said. “I hope that lasting change will result from it." 

Multiple events will be offered over the next few weeks to both honor the victims of the March 16 shootings and to educate people on anti-Asian hate.

Justice for AAPI was a virtual event that took place from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday that commemorated the victims of the Georgia attacks, as well as pushed for justice.

Another event, Gathering Against Asian Hate, is a gathering to mourn the victims of the Atlanta attacks and discuss increasing anti-Asian hatred at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Sample Gates.

The Great Lakes Asian American Student Services organization will have an online workshop at 2 p.m. April 9 focusing on bystander intervention to stop anti-Asian harassment.

The Indiana chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum created a petition urging Gov. Eric Holcomb to condemn anti-Asian actions and sentiments. The petition is endorsed by IU and local organizations such as No Space For Hate.

Anyone needing mental health support as a result of the Atlanta shootings can reach out to IU Counseling and Psychological Services.

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