A photo of Taliesin Namkai-Meche. Above his picture reads In memory of our Trimet heroes and below reads We choose love in rainbow letters.
A photo of Taliesin Namkai-Meche, one of the victims of the attack, was placed at the vigil, along with flowers and signs. Isabella Garcia

Every year on May 26, Micah Fletcher visits the MAX station where he almost died.

Fletcher was one of three people attacked by Jeremy Christian, a self-described white supremacist, on May 26, 2017. Christian got on the MAX Green Line and immediately directed an anti-Muslim tirade at two Black teenagers, one of whom was wearing a hijab. Taliesin Namkai-Meche, Ricky Best, and Fletcher intervened in an attempt to shelter the two teenagers from Christian’s racist remarks. Christian stabbed all three men. Namkai-Meche and Best died from their injuries and Fletcher was severely injured.

Christian was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in June 2020.

Four years after the attack, Fletcher still visits the Hollywood Transit Center MAX stop and sits next to the pillar where someone tried to stop the bleeding from his neck wound with a children’s blanket. He then walks across the pedestrian bridge, past the mural commemorating the tragedy, and to the corner of NE Halsey and 42nd Ave where he was picked up by the ambulance.

“I do it so I don’t forget,” Fletcher said to the Mercury during his annual visit Wednesday. “It taught a very important lesson to me that I feel like maybe the city still doesn’t get. Maybe. Time will tell.”

Micah Fletcher behind a witness stand, talking with his hands.
Micah Fletcher testifying during Jeremy Christian's trial. R. FERN / POOL PHOTOGRAPHER / OREGONLIVE

According to Fletcher, intervening in Christian’s attack taught him that if someone really wants to help and impact their community, they have to take action.

“It doesn’t necessarily need to be what I did,” Fletcher said. “We make this assumption that your job is to save somebody. I’d say it’s debatable whether anybody was saved that day. I know for a fact Ricky and Taliesin helped, and I’d like to think that I did too. But in the end, that’s not the hard work. The hard work is the consistent willingness to check in with your community, to find what people need and bring it to them, and to be an ear and a shoulder to the people who need to remove something from their chest.”

Fletcher’s annual walk coincided with a vigil to honor Namkai-Meche and Best. People started gathering at 4 pm Wednesday, placing flowers on the steps of the transit center, passing out anti-fascist literature, and talking. The crowd grew to about 30 people and eventually led a small march through the nearby neighborhood.

A large black sig with white letters reading Mourn the dead, fight 4 the living
A sign for the vigil reading "Mourn The Dead, Fight 4 The Living" laid across the transit center steps. Isabella Garcia

Fletcher kept to himself during the vigil—he said he doesn’t like crowds—but also wondered if the group could be making more of an impact.

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“For instance, if everyone who was gathered here right now today had instead went to the house to the right of them, wherever they live, knocked on the door and said ‘Hey, what do you need done today? What can I help you with today?’, that to me would’ve been more in line with the lessons of this day four years ago than standing around doing… to be frank I don’t know what,” Fletcher said, gesturing towards the group. “I hope trying to pay respects, but there are so few flowers here that I don’t get it.”

Fletcher stressed that he doesn’t believe that any of the people present Wednesday were wrong for participating, but he did want to make the distinction between the symbol of community support and the action of supporting the community.

“A lot of people doing a couple of good things here and there becomes a bigger thing eventually,” Fletcher said. “I hope people one day come to remember that this event is attached to real people with real lives—some of us are even still around. I hope that with that compassionate thought we can learn to make sure to take care of those people, because there is a lot of pain there and they could use the support.”