A Portland Restaurateur is Raising Money for MAX Heroes

by Alexander Frane on May 31, 2017 in Culture

On Friday, May 26, three men — Rick Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Micah David-Cole Fletcher — intervened on behalf of two teenage girls on a MAX train. The young women were the targets of Islamophobic and racist harassment from a known white supremacist, Jeremy Joseph Christian. When Best, Namkai-Meche, and Fletcher intervened to protect the girls, Christian attacked them with a knife, fatally wounding Best and Namkai-Meche, and severely injuring Fletcher before fleeing the scene. Christian was quickly arrested and remains in custody.

Namkai-Meche was 23 years old, and a recent graduate of Reed College. Best was 51, a military veteran and father of four. Nick A. Zuckin, owner of Mexican restaurant and tequila bar Mi Mero Mole has set up a GoFundMe page to benefit the families of the two victims who lost their lives. In a statement posted to Facebook, Zuckin wrote,

“Like most Portlanders, the night of the bigoted and murderous attack on TriMet, I was both horrified by the crime and proud of these fellow Oregonians who had stood up against racism and Islamophobia. They had done what I’d like to think I would have done in the same circumstances. After some minutes or hours of shock, tears, and a feeling of powerlessness, I looked to the internet for a way to help. I thought maybe someone would have set up a giving campaign in their names. I didn’t find one. I suggested on social media that perhaps someone should make one. One person suggested that as a business owner in Portland, maybe I should do it. I thought about it and decided, why not?”
 
His GoFundMe page, at the time of this writing, is just $10,000 short of its $500,000 goal. While its target is the the family of the two men who gave their lives, others have created a fundraiser to help with Fletcher’s recovery from a terrible knife wound, as well as for the two girls who were initially targeted by the abuse. The latter is for transportation, basic commodities, and mental health care. Another account, organized by local Muslim organizations, has been set up for all three stabbing victims. Together, more than $1 million has been raised over the course of Memorial Day weekend.  

Photo via Flickr user dmytrok

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