Editor Note: This is not a local story, However, we think it is important to highlight this in the current environment, Both as part of the environment, and how communities come together.
May 28, 2017 (PORTLAND, OREGON) The attacker in Portland killed 53-year-old Ricky John Best and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche. Both men intervened when Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35 and a well-known to the police white supremacist started harassing two women on the light train. One of the women wore a Hijab. So the stream of insults was anti-Muslim. This man is in custody, He is charged with a series of charges. However, we do not know yet if a hate crime enhancement will be pursued. The FBI is starting to look into that.
A third man, 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher was severely injured.
The Muslim community, led by the Muslim Educational Trust, set a LaunchGood Page, where they are raising money for the victim’s families. They have raised, so far, $233,000 dollars and are trying for a new goal of $250,000.
This from the donation page matters, if you want to donate. The donation is tax exempt, and proceeds will be distributed to the families locally.
Best was an Army veteran and a one-time candidate for Clackamas County commissioner. He was also a city employee. According to Oregon Live:
He was headed to his home in Happy Valley when he and two others intervened as a man began hurling epithets at two teenagers aboard a MAX Green Line train, witnesses said. The man then pulled a knife and stabbed the three men, killing two and injuring one.
Best had three teenage sons and a 12-year-old daughter, Austin said.
The family of Namkai Menche released the following statement:
Taliesin Myrddin lived a joyous and full life. His enthusiasm was infectious. We lost him in a senseless act that brought close to home the insidious rift of prejudice and intolerance that is too familiar, too common. He was resolute in his conduct (and) respect of all people. In his final act of bravery, he held true to what he believed is the way forward. He will live in our hearts forever as the just, brave, loving, hilarious and beautiful soul he was. We ask that in honor of his memory, we use this tragedy as an opportunity for reflection and change. We choose love. Safe journey Taliesin. We love you.
Cole-Fletcher is a university student and has been active in social justice and other causes.
Fletcher was one of three men who approached suspect Jeremy Christian, who was allegedly yelling racial slurs at two young women, one of them wearing a hijab. Christian stabbed all three men, killing two of them and injuring Fletcher.
Fletcher’s decision to stand up for the women was perfectly in character, said Mandela Cordeta, 26, an old friend. Fletcher’s been passionate about social justice for years, he said.
This tragedy shows that communities can come together in a time of crisis. Police identified the suspect early Saturday morning as 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian, of North Portland. Christian is being held without bail on two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of intimidation in the second degree and one count of possession of a restricted weapon as a felon.
He also, according to the local NBC station he was rejected by Conservatives and Liberals and was escorted away from the rally. We are linking to it since the station is now airing video they got last month but did not air at the time. The video is full of racist language. So be forewarned.