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The Mural at Hollywood Transit Center: Remembering Heroes

Updated: Feb 16, 2019

Saturday marked the anniversary of the stabbing on May 26, 2017, of three riders on a MAX train who stepped up and did the right thing when they came to the aid of two young African-American, teenage girls who appeared to be Muslim, one wearing a hijab, as they were being harassed by a 35-year-old man of the white-separatist and neo-nazi persuasion. Two of the victims died. The suspect was apprehended soon after the incident and is awaiting trial.

For the past few months I've taken in the progress of a commemorative mural that now adorns the Hollywood Transit Center as I passed through on my weekly treks to Trader Joe's. The mural design by Egyptian-American artist Sarah Farahat fuses words and symbols of grief and healing with bright colors that flow along the walls of the ramp as it winds to the top. My spirit is lifted whenever I pass by.

Saturday afternoon's commemoration was a brief, simple, and moving tribute to three men who stood against hate and an expression of solidarity with those affected by it. We are all in this together. I blinked back tears more than a few times.

Speakers included artist Sarah Farahat, Rabbi Debra Kolodny of Portland's UnShul, Father Rick Paperini, pastor at Christ the King Catholic Church, and Wajdi Said, president and co-founder of the Muslim Educational Trust,

dedicated to the betterment of our society through education, cooperation, networking, and programs which benefit Muslims and non-Muslims in the greater Portland area.

Rabbi Kolodny

Father Paperini

Wajdi Said

The ceremony closed with the symbolic ringing of a bell from the Buddhist Daihonzan Henjyoji Temple in remembrance of the three men and the two girls and a special song by vocalist Saeeda Wright while people placed flowers next to the Tribute Wall.

I could not find an estimate of attendance in media accounts of the event. The number seemed to me to be a good fit for the space. Portland police officers and TriMet security personnel were visible but unobtrusive. There was also a nice turnout by representatives of the dog community.

Gathering at Hollywood Transit Center

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