Indiana Daily Student

Asian community honors victims, shares experiences at Justice for AAPI following Atlanta shooting

<p>A screenshot from the &quot;Justice for<strong> </strong>Asian American Pacific Islander&quot; event is pictured. The IU Asian Culture Center offered the event on Zoom Tuesday night to commemorate the victims of anti-Asian violence in Atlanta last week. </p>

A screenshot from the "Justice for Asian American Pacific Islander" event is pictured. The IU Asian Culture Center offered the event on Zoom Tuesday night to commemorate the victims of anti-Asian violence in Atlanta last week.

The IU Asian Culture Center offered a Justice for Asian American Pacific Islander virtual commemoration on Zoom Tuesday night for the victims of anti-Asian violence in Atlanta last week. 

The event was in cooperation with the City of Bloomington and the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs to honor the lives lost to the anti-Asian violence in Georgia. There were more than 300 people in attendance.

IU Ph.D. student Pallavi Padakandla Rao, ACC community member and event moderator, said the event was to honor and remember the lives lost in the Atlanta anti-Asian violence. Rao said the commemoration also served to reject white supremacy and misogyny since six of the eight lives lost were Asian women.

Rao said the commemoration showcased the diverse experiences of many Asian and Asian American women, including those in the Bloomington community, IU faculty, Asian American students and Asian international students. 

“I think in some ways it’s just remarkable, the kind of resilience community has when it comes together and is really able to articulate a larger vision for what justice and community building looks like,” Rao said.

Bloomington poet Hiromi Yoshida read two original poems about the racist rhetoric and hate crimes against Asian people in the United States. Lisa Kwong, IU Asian American Studies Program lecturer, also read her poem, which recognized the Asian Americans and immigrants who laid the groundwork and legacy for the AAPI people who came after them.

The event also featured Asian American women who shared their experiences of racism and misogyny. 

Abby Ang, founder of the No Space for Hate and the Monroe County Mutual Aid groups, said the racist rhetoric surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic was factor in the influx of anti-Asian violence. Ang said a community member told her that “her people” caused the COVID-19 virus.

April Hennessey, District 2 Monroe County Community School Corporation board member, said she experiences racism and sexism as an Asian American woman. At a softball game she was playing in during her youth, Hennessey said a white police officer she knew called her “ching chong” when she was up to bat and used his fingers to slant his eyes at her.

IU professor Ellen Wu, who serves as the director of the Asian American Studies Program, said people should recognize the value and worth of Asian American women after the shootings in Atlanta. 

Beverly Calender-Anderson, the City of Bloomington director of community and family resources, said the city denounces racist violence. She offered a location to report incidents alongside resources for those experiencing racist biases and hate crimes.

The event included a moment of silence to honor those who died. The victims of the shootings in Atlanta were Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Ae Yue, 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Xiaojie Tan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44, according to a New York Times article.

Denise Hayes, director of Counseling and Psychological Services, said CAPS and the ACC at IU are having a community reflection space for those wishing to process and discuss the events in Atlanta. The meeting will be 1 p.m. Friday on Zoom

The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition is holding a Gathering Against Asian Hate at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Sample Gates. Participants should follow masking and social distancing measures.

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