One night, in October 2015, Asma Jama went out for dinner with her family at an Applebee’s restaurant in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Asma, who is Somali American and Muslim, was wearing a hijab, as she always does.
While Asma was talking with her cousin in Swahili, a woman named Jodie Bruchard-Risch, who was seated nearby, told her to speak English or go back to her country. When Asma responded to say that she was a U.S. citizen, the woman smashed a beer mug across Asma’s face. She was rushed to the hospital and required 17 stitches in her face, hands and chest.
Bruchard-Risch pleaded guilty to felony assault charges and served time in jail for the crime. After the trial, her sister, Dawn Sahr, contacted Asma online and they struck up a correspondence.
At StoryCorps, Dawn and Asma met in person for the first time.
Originally aired July 21, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.