We all want to be that person who stands for right, don’t we. I know I do.
I recently attend an community workshop on “Interrupting Hate”. There were lessons to learn and encouragement in facing the rise in visible hate and intolerance in our nation. How should we intervene? When should we take action? What are the benefits? What are the risks?
On Friday, May 26, 2017, Portland, Oregon (my state of residence), three men intervened. Two, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, and Rick Best, 53, lost their lives. A third, David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was treated for serious injuries.
I honor these men. I honor the sense of justice and the courage of those who follow their instincts and intervene in demonstrations of hate and intolerance. I honor their example of being aware and willing to stand up. I am grateful for the national attention that these men will bring to a growing problem of hate crimes.
And I am devastated by the outcome and loss of lives. At the same time, I am hopeful that we as citizens can help and support our peace officers identify the perpetrators of such vitriolic actions before they erupt in violence. I hope that we are continually reminded and taught how to make a difference in the best way possible.
And as I pray for the families of these men, I also pray for those people who have been steeped in fear, anger, and defensiveness and are willing to harm others to protect their precarious position in a world of diversity.