In a cruel twist to a devastating story about bravery in the face of hate, friends of Micah Fletcher, the sole survivor of the Oregon transit stabbing on Friday, are now trying to raise funds to pay for his life-saving medical treatment.
"Our friend was stabbed and critically injured while being a good Samaritan and heroically intervening during the racist terrorist incident that left two men dead," reads the Go Fund Me page. "He bravely did what anyone should do when confronted with terrorism and stepped in to stop the harassment of Muslim women by a known White Supremacist."
Fletcher was one of three people who approached suspect Jeremy Christian on the Portland MAX train on Friday after Christian was seen "yelling anti-Muslim hate speech at the two women, one of whom was wearing a hijab," KATU reports.
The Oregonian reports:
The 21-year-old was taking the train to his job at a pizza shop from classes at Portland State University. The suspect hit Fletcher once on the left side with the knife. It punctured his neck and was millimeters away from his jugular, Helm said doctors told her and the family.
He required surgery, which lasted about two hours, she said. Surgeons who operated on him had to remove bone fragments from his throat, she said.
Fletcher is a poet who frequently writes about social justice issues and anti-Muslim prejudice. "Last Memorial Day weekend, Fletcher and other poets part of Spit/WRITE, a youth poetry group, were reading poems about social justice on a MAX train," The Oregonian noted. "The purpose was to give them the space to call attention to social justice issues, one of his poetry mentors, Renee Mitchell, said."
According to reporting, Christian, who has been arrested and charged on multiple counts, "had been a prominent and vocal participant in recent 'alt-right' rallies in Portland," and had a history of expressing racist ideas on social media.
Early Saturday he was booked in the Multnomah County jail and has been charged with two counts each of aggravated murder and intimidation in the second degree, a hate crime offense. He was additionally charged with attempted murder and felon in possession of a restricted weapon. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.
The attack captured international attention, as it comes amid a documented increase in hate crimes and speech against Muslims, immigrants, and other minorities, which has coincided with the election of President Donald Trump and the enactment of several policies also targeting those groups.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called the stabbing victims "heroes," and said their actions "should serve as an example and inspiration to us all."
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who also extolled their heroism, issued a statement saying: "When White supremacy and neo-Naxism are allowed to flourish, often with the tacit approval of a White House and Republican party more interested in targeting immigrants and people of color than domestic terrorists, this is the inevitable result."
"We have to address the extremism in our midst. We owe it to our friends and neighbors and families. We owe it to Taliesin and Ricky," Ellison said. Let us strive to be as brave and as compassionate as them."
Later, drawing attention to the fundraiser for Fletcher, Ellison wrote online:
Our healthcare system is so cruel, one of the heroes of the Portland stabbing has to crowdfund his lifesaving medical care. https://t.co/sZSMHgsJGH
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) May 28, 2017