On a light-rail train in Portland, Oregon on Friday, two men lost their lives trying to protect two young women, one of whom was wearing a hijab, after another passenger began ranting and raving and yelling anti-Muslim slurs, police said.
Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, and Rick Best, 53, were killed in the attack, while another, Micah Fletcher, a 21-year-old university student, was injured, but survived.
Many Americans feel a deep sadness over this, except apparently President Donald Trump, who has had little to say about the tragedy, The Washington Post reports.
While he did respond, briefly in a tweet, Meche’s family members said they were dismayed by the length of time it took the president to respond. They were also upset that the tweet came from Trump’s @Potus account which has fewer followers than his @realDonaldTrump account.
The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them.
— President Trump (@POTUS) May 29, 2017
This tweet prompted Asha Deliverance, Taliesin’s mother, to write Trump a letter on Memorial Day to let him know that her son’s death deserves more than just an off-the-cuff tweet from an empathy-deprived president.
Here is her letter in full:
Dear President Trump,
I’m writing you today, Memorial Day, to share my heart after losing my son.
Taliesin died a hero. like many other Americans who have died defending freedom. He was just 23, a year out of college with a degree in economics, working, had just bought his first home and was thinking about starting a family. Our family grieves, but we are proud that through his selfless action he, along with the other two men, has changed the world, when in the face of hate he did not hesitate to act with love.
Two precious lives were lost this Memorial Day weekend in Portland and one more, nearly so. All three were strangers to each other, and to those they were defending. They fearlessly risked their lives for two young women who were being threatened by an act of bigotry & terror. These brave men saw the immediate injustice and didn’t hesitate to act. They recognized the truth: we are more alike than we are different. To ride the train home without being assaulted because of the color of your skin or your religious beliefs, is an inalienable right.
You have said that you will be president for all Americans. So I ask you, Mr. President to take action at this time. Your words and actions are meaningful, here in America and throughout the world.
Please encourage all Americans to protect and watch out for one another. Please condemn any acts of violence, which results directly from hate speech & hate groups. I am praying you will use your leadership to do so.
It would deeply honor Taliesin’s sacrifice, which has been amplified by the millions of voices who have supported our family in response to this tragedy.
With Peace in My Heart,
Taliesin was a recent graduate of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. The college issued a statement that celebrated his life:
“I still remember where he sat in conference and the types of probing, intelligent questions I could anticipate him asking,” Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, a professor of religion and the humanities said in the statement. “He was thoughtful, humble, smart, inquisitive and compassionate. He was a wonderful human being. As good as they come. And now he is a hero to me.”
That praise is a far cry from the man who allegedly killed Meche and Best. Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, a known white supremacist, faces several charges, including two counts of aggravated murder, which carry the death penalty, Raw Story reports.
Destinee Mangum, one of the girls he allegedly threatened, was with her friend who was wearing a hijab when Christian approached them and began yelling anti-Muslim slurs.
” He told us to go back to Saudi Arabia, and he told us we shouldn’t be here, to get out of his country,” she told a local television station. “He was just telling us that we basically weren’t anything and that we should kill ourselves.”
She was grateful to the men who saved her life.
“I just want to say thank you for people who put their life on the line for me, ’cause they didn’t even know me, and they lost their lives because of me and my friend, and the way we looked, Mangum said through tears. “And I just want to say thank you to them and their family, and that I appreciate them because without them, we would probably be dead right now.”
Meche and Best fought hate by acting through love. Their sacrifices have touched the lives of millions of American, and Asha Deliverance is right — Trump needs to fight the racism and hate his supporters generate. He doesn’t need that stupid wall, and he doesn’t need to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. The way to end hate is through love and understanding.
But for Trump, these two emotions are in short supply. He has plenty of love for himself but draws the line at everyone else.
And our country is worse off for it.
In the video below, Destinee thanks the men who gave their lives to fight hate.
Photo Courtesy of Remembering Taliesin Myriddin/Facebook.
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