In Portland, Oregon, a man shouted racist, anti-Muslim rhetoric at two Muslim women. According to police, 35-year old Jeremy Joseph Christian, who has prior convicted felonies, hurled hate speech at two women of color; one was wearing a hijab.
Three men intervened and tried to protect them by attempting to stop Christian from assaulting the women. Eyewitnesses say, one of those men was 53-year old Military veteran, Ricky John Best, who was stabbed to death on the scene of the confrontation by Christian.
The other two men were taken to the hospital where 23-year old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche died. The third victim, 21-year old Micah David-Cole Fletcher was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
There is so much hate in this world, yet in the midst of it all these men stood for all that is good at a time when it was so very necessary to step up and do so. They did not cower nor hesitate when it came time to act. Instead, they put their lives on the line willingly and died as a result of protecting two Muslim women from this race and hate-filled man’s rampage.
All to often the press mentions the race of people involved in race-related incidents and this time should be no different. All of these men were white. The protectors and the suspect were white men. Three of those white men protected two Brown-Muslim women from what would likely have been a hate crime against them. The media should proudly display their pictures.
There has been an increase in hate crime in America as a result of Donald Trump’s rhetoric and many of his supporters. Some feel empowered to say and commit some of the most heinous crimes against people of color. When the President of the United States co-signs it and doesn’t denounce it, that too sends a clear message that it’s “ok” to act and attack people in such a despicable manner.
This must stop. We also cannot allow ourselves to put all white men into one demographic in our minds. There are hate-filled people that come in all races yet there are protectors across every color spectrum as well. We live in a time when some Americans believe all those associated with the Islam are terrorists. That kind of thinking is a threat to all Americans.
These brave and compassionate men should never be forgotten and there is no better time to recognize and remember them than this Memorial Day. So many soldiers are not on a traditional battlefield. They are in Anytown, USA fighting for people like you and me. These men are now victims at the hands of hate but in my eyes, they are not just that. They are heroes. Actually, they are superheroes to be quite accurate because, how they died is highly indicative of how they lived their lives. What a blessing it must have been to know them.