On Jan. 11, Bloomington resident Billie Davis allegedly stabbed an 18-year-old Asian student in the head around seven times on the Bloomington transit bus 1777. According to the affidavit, Davis told police that she stabbed the victim because she was Asian.
The IU Asian Culture Centerreleased a statement on Jan. 13 responding to the incident and its impact on the Asian American community.
“We are outraged and heartbroken by this unprovoked act of violence, but we also worry for the well-being of our community.”
The ACC plans events aiming to educate and inform people on Asian culture, history and issues. Following the crime, Castillo-Cullather emphasized the importance of patience and understanding during the aftermath of this crime within the Bloomington community.
“This is a very traumatic experience for everyone and the Asian community,” Castillo-Cullather said. “People need to be patient when it comes to wanting to know more or hearing the story of the student.”
Asian Culture Center support
The ACC is holding listening sessions in the wake of the crime for students to come and express their fears, sadness, anger and any other emotion they may be feeling. The first listening session took place on Jan. 13.
Melanie Castillo Cullather, director of ACC, said students suggested a series of sessions, held in different varieties. The first proposed session would encourage Asian students to talk about their personal stories and feelings following the event and hear from other students of Asian descent. The second suggested session will be open to all students on campus and be a much larger discussion.
Although ACC has not set specific dates for sessions yet, Castillo-Cullather said the ACC website and Instagram will update and announce when the events are happening.
According to the ACC website, each month ACC hosts an “Over a Cup of Tea” discussion, where faculty members, scholars and guest presenters discuss issues concerning Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Whether in-person or over zoom, the staff at the ACC is available to talk if a student is feeling scared, worried or just needs someone to listen. Castillo-Cullather said students do not need an appointment to talk with staff. Zoom calls can also be arranged. Castillo-Cullather offers zoom sessions late at night for students who do not have time during the day. Castillo-Cullather can be reached through email at email@example.com.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
For those seeking professional counseling, IU offers Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to students. According to the IU Student Health Center website, if students have paid the student health fee, they will receive two free appointments every semester. The ACC also offers additional counseling through CAPS at the culture center, where Wilson Hsiao is the embedded counselor for the ACC.
If students do not feel comfortable taking public transportation, they can scan the code available on IU Ride. Students can get a $6.50 discount off their Lyft ride from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. nightly.
IU Ride also offers free rides within Bloomington city limits for students who feel unsafe walking home or to work. By downloading the mobile app TransLoc onto their phone, students can request a ride any time from 8 p.m. to 1:40 a.m.
Reporting bias incidents
If a student witnesses an incident where someone is mistreated due to their race or other factors such as gender or sexuality, they can report it to the university using the bias reporting system. Asian Americans Advancing Justice also tracks instances where Asian Americans across the country log their own instances of mistreatment and hate crimes.
Ways to get connected
The Virulent Hate Project is a research initiative that began in response to hate crimes committed against the AAPI community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group has a database of hundreds of community organizations people can join. They range from activist organizations to support systems. Castillo-Cullather encourages the Bloomington community to use this time to make students feel safe and welcome.
“I want our students to feel as safe as every other student,” Castillo-Cullather said.