Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crime

Fighting hate by networking resources

Responding to Hate in Portland — June 19, 2017

Responding to Hate in Portland

June 19, 2017

In the wake of the brutal May 26th attack on the Portland Max train that left two good samaritans dead and a third seriously injured, the city has been responding in a number of ways. The worldwide media attention on the incident has put Portland in a spotlight it hasn’t occupied since the 1988 murder of an Ethiopian immigrant by racist skinheads. As the chair of the Coalition, I have tried to fairly represent the CAHC’s mission, as well as our city, its history, and the work that must be done, in the New York Times, CNN, NPR, the BBC,  Al Jazeera, and several other media outlets.

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Since the attack, the city has held vigils, memorial services, anti-hate rallies, community meetings with law enforcement, benefit shows and fundraisers for the victims, and on June 7, the Portland City Council approved a $40,000 grant to help improve the reporting of hate crimes in the city. On June 9, Oregon Senators and Congress members submitted a joint resolution condemning the attacks. There will a bystander intervention workshop on June 25. And the Oregon Attorney General’s Office will be hosting a hate crime forum on July 24 at the Muslim Educational Trust in Tigard.

The CAHC is working with our partners at the DOJ CRS to assemble a community forum in late July that will cover the legal issues regarding hate crimes, the experience of communities that have been targeted, and useful strategies from preventing hate crimes and responding when hate does arise. We will have more information, soon. The DOJ CRS is also helping to support our Hate Free State proclamation that is currently in Governor Brown’s office.

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All this work and more is being done to honor Ricky Best, Taliesin Namkai-Meche, and Micah Fletcher, as well as the two girls who were verbally assaulted that day. Their families should know that waves of goodness, reflection, activism, and community commitment will continue to unfold from that horrific day. We have all been forced to rededicate ourselves to this issue because of their sacrifice. Sadly, there have been several hate incidents in Oregon since that attack, and we have been tasked with the realization that hate is still a regular part of our world, even in Portland. However, the ripple of those people’s actions on that train will bring positive change for many years to come.

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White supremacist murders two samaritans on Portland Max train. — May 27, 2017

White supremacist murders two samaritans on Portland Max train.

May 27,  2017

On May 26, 2017 there was a brutal attack on the Portland Max, near the Hollywood station by a known white supremacist. We encourage people to stand up to hate speech, but in this case it turned fatal. Jeremy Christian was verbally assaulting two women on the train he believed to be Muslim. Three people who tried to get him to stop were stabbed by Christian. Ricky John Best, 53, died at the scene and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, died later in the hospital.. Christian is in custody.

Here is one of the media accounts of the incident.

Police: 2 killed in MAX train stabbing after suspect bullies Muslim women

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(Photo by Katherine Cook)

The women who were the initial targets of the attack fled the train and the Portland Police are hoping to interview them. Chief Marshman made this plea.

Community colleagues,

By now I am sure you are aware of the incident on the MAX train where two people were killed. Portland Police has the suspect in custody. 

We are continuing to investigate this terrible crime and will get information to the public as soon as we are able to do so. 

Preliminary information is that the suspect was yelling various types of hate speech to many passengers on the train. 

We are looking for two young women, possibly teenagers, who were on the train. We believe these two young women are witnesses to this crime. One was possibly wearing a hijab. 

With Ramadan beginning this evening, please know that the Portland Police Bureau stands by your side and will have extra police patrols for you. 

Thank you,
Mike Marshman, Chief of Police

Both Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and Mayor Ted Wheeler have condemned the incident. There is a vigil planned for tonight at the Hollywood Max Center at 6:30.

 

We know that attacks on Muslims have increased, and have spiked since the bombing in Manchester, England. It is important for us to stand with the victims and against this type of terrorism in our communities. All people should feel safe, no matter what their faith is.