June 6, 2017
The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) grieves with the families of Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, who were stabbed to death on May 26, 2017 while defending two teenage women aboard a train in Portland, Oregon. According to news sources, Mr. Best and Mr. Namkai-Meche intervened when Jeremy Joseph Christian, a known white supremacist, shouted racist epithets at Destinee Mangum, a 16-year old, and her Muslim friend who was wearing a hijab.
We stand in solidarity with the victims' families and the two brave teenagers who were subjected to this senseless act of hate. And we honor the heroism of Mr. Best and Mr. Namkai-Meche who stood up to blatant racism and xenophobia.
AABA urges federal authorities to prosecute this violent act as a hate crime. “We are alarmed by the growing number of incidents of hate crimes and bias-motivated violence towards Muslims and persons suspected of being Muslim,” said AABA President Miriam Kim. “When hate and intolerance escalate to murder, it must be punished to the greatest extent of the law.” As a bar association founded over 40 years ago to serve the interests of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys and the broader community, AABA calls on all elected officials and its members to condemn all forms of hate crimes, bigotry, and xenophobia as irreconcilable with this country's values of equality and justice.