All weekend long, I’ve been near tears as I contemplate the three people who were stabbed—two fatally—by a white supremacist after they stepped up to defend young women of color, one wearing a hijab, on a Portland light rail car.
I’m hoping to raise my son to intervene against bullies and stand against racism and misogyny, and this has shaken me to my core. I’ve been thinking: “Their moms taught them to do the right thing, to step up when they saw injustice, and this is their reward.” We applaud people who stand up to Neo-Nazis, but this incident shows that true courage carries a true risk.
Yet the mother of one of the victims who died—Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, age 23—Asha Deliverance, has been a beacon of strength and a symbol of sadness for a wounded, divided nation stricken by violence.
At a vigil for the slain men, she said “Give it up for love!” and told reporters her son had done the right thing. She also wrote a letter to the president that is circulating today. Read it below.
Asha Deliverance, the mom of Portland hero Taliesin Meche, at a vigil for the victims. She has so much grace, it's remarkable. pic.twitter.com/7nsCpQitTk
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) May 30, 2017
Dear President Trump,
I’m writing to 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 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 result 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,