On Friday, three men were stabbed, with two dying from their wounds, after they came to the defense of two teenaged girls who were being harassed on a Portland, Oregon, commuter train. The suspect now in custody is reportedly a 35-year-old man who allegedly shouted racist, anti-Muslim slurs at the girls. Three men — Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, Rick John Best, 53, and Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21 — attempted to intervene and deescalate the situation. The man yelling at the girls reportedly brandished a knife and began stabbing the three men; Best was pronounced dead at the scene while Meche died at the hospital on Friday. Now, the mother of Portland train stabbing hero has sent a powerful open letter to Trump, calling on the president to condemn such violence.
Many criticized Trump for his wan response to the Portland train stabbing, made three days after the incident and by his mouthpiece of choice, Twitter. In a tweet from the @POTUS account late Monday morning, Trump called the Portland stabbing "unacceptable" while noting the "victims" stood up to "hate and intolerance," before concluding with a requisite "Our prayers are w/[sic] them."
Meche's mother, Asha Deliverance, penned a moving letter calling on Trump to express his condemnation beyond a single trite tweet that didn't even include the victims' names. Meche's mother posted to Facebook announcing her son's death on Friday afternoon.
Meche and Best have been called heroes, as well they should be. As Deliverance notes in her letter to Trump, her son "died a hero, like many other Americans who have died defending freedom." Even in her grief, Deliverance and her family are proud of their son's "selfless action" that, "when in the face of hate he did not hesitate to act with love." According to several eyewitnesses, Meche's final words before he was whisked away on a stretcher were a message of love as well: "Tell everyone on this train I love them."
Deliverance called out Trump on the promise he made to the nation during his victory speech: that he would be the President for all Americans. Her letter implores Trump to "encourage all Americans to protect and watch out for one another," as well as to "condemn any acts of violence, which result directly from hate speech & hate groups."
Asha Deliverance's letter to Trump reads in full below:
May 29, 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,
As moving as Deliverance's letter may be, it's unlikely Trump will actually respond in any meaningful way beyond his one "obligatory" tweet, and especially considering he used anti-Muslim rhetoric as part of his campaign strategy.
Three different fundraising campaigns for the Portland stabbing victims have been created since Friday's terrible event: Tri Met Heroes, to help the victims' families' funeral costs; Tri Met Hero Recovery, to go towards the medical expenses of sole survivor Fletcher; and Muslims Unite for Portland Heroes, to "help with the immediate, short-term needs of the grieving families."