The Organization of American Historians is outraged and deeply saddened by the horrific, racially motivated attack on an Asian American Indiana University female student on January 11, 2023 while riding a Bloomington city bus. This assault is not an isolated event. It continues both the recent rise in anti-Asian violence during the COVID-19 pandemic and the long history of anti-Asian racism in the United States. Since March of 2020, Stop AAPI Hate has tracked over 11,500 hate incidents and acts of violence. Women of Asian descent have been particularly vulnerable, revealing yet again how racism and sexism work together to place all women of color at greater risk of discrimination and violence.
That this most recent assault happened to a student at our host campus of Indiana University is particularly heartbreaking. We recognize that this was not just an attack on one individual but on our entire IU community and on Asian Americans nationally. We offer our support and solidarity to our Asian American/Pacific Islander colleagues, students, and neighbors at Indiana University, in the Bloomington area, and across the country.
In the wake of the murders of eight people in Atlanta on March 16, 2021, the OAH issued a statement condemning the racist attacks. We repeat our call to all members to redouble our efforts “preserve, interpret, and teach history that helps us all understand and confront the ongoing centrality of white supremacy and racism in the United States.” We recognize that our mission of pursuing excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history offers students, colleagues, and public audiences with the tools and knowledge needed to understand the roots of contemporary crises like this recent attack, how they impact all of us, and how we can work together towards a just and equal society.
In addition to revisiting the original list of related OAH resources, please consider these new ones as well:
- “Indiana’s Asian American community is grieving after a bus stabbing attack,” NPR, January 15, 2023.
- Erika Lee, “The Necessity of Teaching Asian American History,” and other essays in the May 2022 issue of The American Historian on Asian American and Pacific Islander History.
- National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (Indiana Chapter) Statement (1/15/2023) [NAPAWF Indiana Chapter Co-Chair is OAH member Melissa May Borja].
- Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Standing Together, and Care Package: Cultural Nutrients for Times Like This.
On behalf of the OAH Executive Committee,
Erika Lee, President
Beth English, Executive Director