Amer­i­can Hate: Sur­vivors Speak Out

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - Hate Amer­i­can Hate: Amer­i­can

Desti­nee Mangum and Walia Mo­hamed weren’t sup­posed to be on the MAX Light Rail train in Port­land, Ore­gon, the day Jeremy Joseph Chris­tian boarded and be­gan yelling at them that “Mus­lims should die.” The teenagers had got­ten lost and were just try­ing to nav­i­gate their way back home.

“It’s like our faces were a trig­ger. I felt like he was at­tack­ing me be­cause I was wear­ing a hi­jab; Desti­nee was wear­ing some­thing on her head, too. He was yelling stuff about Mus­lims and Chris­tians as well. Plus, we’re both black. He was racist and didn’t like that ei­ther,” Mo­hamed says in Sur­vivors Speak Out (The New Press).

Amer­i­can Hate, edited by Ar­jun Singh Sethi — a com­mu­nity ac­tivist, civil rights lawyer, and law pro­fes­sor based in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. — is a col­lec­tion of first-per­son ac­counts from vic­tims of hate crimes that have hap­pened since the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion sea­son. Sethi reads from and dis­cusses

on Thurs­day, Nov. 15, at Col­lected Works Book­store, in an event co-spon­sored by United World Col­lege, Mon­tezuma; Desert Acad­emy; Com­mu­nity Peace Ra­dio; Las Ve­gas Peace & Jus­tice Cen­ter; and Ware­house 21.

Chris­tian yelled at Mo­hamed and Mangum for sev­eral min­utes un­til a trio of young men took ac­tion. “They didn’t even know each other. They just wanted to help,” Mo­hamed says. She doesn’t re­mem­ber what hap­pened next. Mangum saw a knife. And then Chris­tian be­gan stab­bing. Ricky John Best and I Taliesin Myrd­din Namkai-Meche died in the at­tack. The third man, Micah DavidCole Fletcher, was in­jured. The girls ran away as fast as they could.

Mo­hamed and Mangum re­ceived many let­ters of sup­port from the pub­lic, but they didn’t wel­come the me­dia at­ten­tion — or the death threats from peo­ple who agreed with Chris­tian’s point of view. They are grate­ful to the men who died try­ing to pro­tect them, but they no longer feel safe. They wish that their com­mu­nity was more sup­port­ive of their on­go­ing trauma. At school, no one checks on them. “Not the coun­selors. Not the teach­ers,” Mangum says. “No­body asks us if we’re feel­ing com­fort­able. No­body asks us if we need help or any­thing. We only have each other.”

“What we need to be do­ing in this mo­ment is sup­port­ing and stand­ing up for one an­other. The best de­fense is com­mu­nity. The best shield to state and hate vi­o­lence is sol­i­dar­ity. We’ve seen a won­der­ful ex­am­ple of that in just the last few days, when the Mus­lim com­mu­nity raised tens of thou­sands of dol­lars to sup­port the Jewish com­mu­nity in Pitts­burgh af­ter the Tree of Life mas­sacre,” Sethi said in an in­ter­view that took place two days af­ter Robert Bow­ers al­legedly opened fire in a Penn­syl­va­nia syn­a­gogue af­ter yelling anti-Semitic slurs, killing 11 peo­ple and in­jur­ing four first re­spon­ders.

“My book very in­ten­tion­ally in­cludes per­spec­tives from so many dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties — in­clud­ing Mus­lims, Arabs, Sikhs, Jews, refugees, queer and trans folks, and many oth­ers — be­cause all of those com­mu­ni­ties are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing height­ened forms of hate in this po­lit­i­cal mo­ment. We should have rec­og­nized long ago that Don­ald Trump is a bigot and a racist who has in­cited and em­bold­ened hate across this coun­try. His po­lit­i­cal ap­point­ments, rhetoric, and poli­cies un­equiv­o­cally show this. Poli­cies like the Mus­lim ban, the refugee ban, the

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