The world is no stranger to injustice and human hatred. Living in a normally progressive city can often feel like an echo chamber of similar interest and opinion, but just last week a hate crime took place in Portland, Oregon which has certainly rocked the community both here, and around the country. While standing up to a grown man, racially and religiously abusing two teenaged girls, three men attempted to calm and repel a horrific situation that ended up with two of them being murdered, and gruesomely injuring the third. Rick Best, a 53 year old Army veteran and father of 4, along with Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, a 23 year old recent Reed College graduate, lost their lives standing up for these two young girls. The third man, Micah Fletcher a 21 year old Portland man who has come out in strong support of the two young girls that this attack was directed at, is speaking the way that most people I know, feel about this. He has heroically called out a need to rally around people of color and religious minorities stating:
"The Muslim community, especially in Portland, needs to understand that there are a lot of us that are not going to stand by and let anybody -- whether they are from here or not -- scare you into thinking you can't be a part of this town, this city, this community, or this country,"
A minority of closed minded, scared and ignorantly intolerant individuals have seen recent events as a rallying cry and excuse to bring their racism out into physical manifestation, and in my opinion, the only way to combat that is to work together to both discuss and educate those willing to listen, and to fight against those refusing to do so, that hatred toward any group of people because of perceived difference in race, religion, class or gender, is not okay, and never will be. They're on the wrong side of history, and while there will always be those who feel that they are better because of a religious outlook, or their skin color, there are more of us that understand that we live in a diverse world with a vast tapestry of belief, culture and identity. When unjustifiable hatred is directed toward anyone, I feel it important to do what we can to support those who are victimized, as well as those who stand up to repel it.
We chose to start this monthly donation program to financially support causes in immediate need through something we'd be marketing and selling anyway, while finding a way to donate where we otherwise might not have been able to, or not nearly as much. It has honestly been sad that it has been difficult choosing between many different, worth causes every month, but this is the world we live in. We have chosen to donate 10% of any and all sales of our camera straps monthly to a new cause, and this one has hit close to home.
You don't need to buy a camera strap to support the families of this horrific event, and I'd certainly suggest offering support if you're able, but we will be donating 10% this month via Nautistraps.com to the Tri-Met Hero's GoFundMe HERE. There are also funds set up for the two young girls and their families (see more about that HERE) who have obviously been traumatically affected, both by the attack on them, as well as witnessing the brutal attacks on these three men.
Portland, en masse, has rallied around all of the families affected, as well as the greater Muslim community here, and for that I'm happy to say that while we will never entirely eradicate hatred, we can meet it with more force by supporting each other in times like this. Be a decent human being and continue to stand up to hatred and racism as it rears its ugly head.
Tyson and Rachael