More Inclusive Vision Of America Emerges In Vigil For Portland Stabbing Victims

Published June 1, 2017

The mother of one of the victims of last weekend's Portland stabbing advocated inclusion in a vigil.

Iconic Photo Portland Stabbing

Beth Nakamura/TwitterThe grieving mother (R) of one of the Portland stabbing heroes, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche.

“Give it up for love” are surprising words to hear from a mother whose child was recently stabbed to death by a stranger.

But that’s what Asha Deliverance instructed attendees at a vigil for her son, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, who was recently murdered while protecting two young Muslim women — one black, one wearing a hijab — during a hate-fueled attack on a Portland train.

Hundreds of people assembled on Saturday to honor the fallen 23-year-old, along with 53-year-old Rick Best and 21-year-old Michah Fletcher, all of whom intervened when Jeremy Joseph Christian began making threatening and anti-Muslim comments on Friday, May 26.

Christian lashed out with a knife, killing Namkai-Meche and Best.

Fletcher, who was stabbed in the neck, is still healing.

Best was an Army veteran and a father of four. Namkai-Meche was a recent college graduate who worked at a consulting firm.

Looking at the selfless nature of their actions, it’s unsurprising that the families of these heroes have responded only with messages of inclusivity and love.

Deliverance, in particular, was seen embracing Muslim women who approached her at the vigil.

Two Muslim nonprofits have raised more than $540,000 for the victims and their families with an online fundraiser.

Three days after the attack, Deliverance wrote a letter to Donald Trump, asking him to condemn hate speech and hate groups.

“They recognized the truth: we are more alike than we are different,” she said of her son, Best and Fletcher. “To ride the train home without being assaulted because of the color of your skin or your religious beliefs, is an inalienable right.”

It wasn’t until one day after this letter — a stunning four days after the murders — that the President addressed the attack from his second Twitter account, which has about half as many followers.

Before sending this message, Trump published 21 other tweets on a range of other subjects.

Critics wondered if the nature of the attack had something to do with the response — which came much later than Trump’s reactions to other attacks.

“He should learn from the Portland heroes,” a Chicago Tribune writer suggested of the President. “When he responds more quickly and passionately to victims of Islamic terrorism, for example, than he does to domestic anti-Islamic terrorism, he becomes less of a problem-solver and more of a problem.”

Next, learn the real story behind the famous “Migrant Mother” photograph. Then, read about a new 66study showing that Americans are warming to Muslims and Atheists.

All That's Interesting
A New York-based publisher established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science to share stories that illuminate our world.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.