BY JESSICA REDWINE
Portland, Oregon is usually seen as a bastion of progressive thought. A liberal haven on its surface, the city is actually rife with racism. The undercurrent of hate came to the surface last Friday, on the first day of Ramadan.
Two black muslim girls, one wearing a hijab, were confronted by a violent, angry man (identified as Joseph Jeremy Christian) on a light rail train in the heart of Portland. He began yelling at the girls, telling them, “Get out!” when three men intervened. After a brief scuffle, he stabbed the three men in the neck with a hidden folding knife. Two died, while one was treated for injuries and released from the hospital.
After being captured by police officers on the platform, Christian began to yell in the cop car. Claiming “patriotism” and “free speech.” Even once he stepped into the court room, Christian was shouting about terrorism and how any non-patriots should die. Prior to the events that unfolded on that fateful day, Christian had been spotted at rallies that targeted Sharia law with an American flag draped over his shoulders and carrying a baseball bat.
While unsettling, the events in Portland are not a new occurrence. The United States has seen a 20% rise in hate crimes in nine metropolitan areas since campaigning for the 2016 election started. The reason? With the rise of a racist rhetoric in the White House, there is now a “safe space” for those who wish to lash out at others. Thousands of people are taking advantage of the opportunity to enact racially motivated assaults, harassment, and murders.
As it stands, when events like these occur, the President offers a weak condemnation of the events, usually via his favorite platform, Twitter. But his policies of hatred and racism continue unabated. One Muslim ban after another, no mention of racism when visiting the Holocaust museum, and an outspoken belief in an “us versus them” mindset.
While the President fails to condemn racism, more hate crimes come to light. A noose found in an African American museum. Vandalized Jewish synagogues. And more assaults than can be counted.
While the list of hate crimes committed under Trump’s regime continues to grow, so too does the list of those helping the ones most affected. Crowdfunding campaigns for the victims of the Portland stabbing currently total over one million dollars. Heroes like Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche (23) and Ricky John Best (53) continue to stand up to hatred, battling hate crimes one at a time.
These days, love and acceptance are more needed than ever. American terrorism is at an all-time high. Together, we can combat the hatred. We can end the hate crimes. Find your resources to stand tall against racism, and against murderers like Joseph Jeremy Christian.
Political Revolution Grassroots Political Campaign
American Civil Liberties Union
Human Rights Campaign
Southern Poverty Law Center