One year ago, two teenagers say they were subjected to racist hate speech on a now infamous MAX train. Three men came to their defense. Two of them were killed, and one recovered from serious injuries.
Gresham High School student Destinee Mangum said that morning had been cool and calm until the alleged attacker, Jeremy Christian, boarded the train. She and her friend were on their way to the mall after school.
Christian started spewing racist remarks at them immediately, according to Mangum. They moved to the back of the train to get away.
“We were both caught off guard because we both haven’t had any run ins with racists,” she said.
As they moved away, Magnum says Christian stood up to follow, and survivor Micah Fletcher confronted him. The two began to get physical.
The girls were almost off the train when they looked back to see a lot of blood.
Mangum has decorated her wall with memorials to the two men who died on that train, Ricky Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche. She says she thinks about them on a daily basis.
“I just want them to know that I appreciate everything, and I just want them to be proud of me, watching me from up there,” Mangum said.
Mangum’s mother, Dijuana Hudson, said the experience taught her and the girls “not to live in fear, and to be able to try and carry on.”
However, Hudson said living without fear is easier said than done. She said she and her daughter receive death threats daily. Both of them wonder about what would have happened on that train if the girls hadn’t been there.
“When someone loses their life for you, it’s different from if someone just loses their life,” Mangum said.
“Had they just got off [the train], would this have ever happened?” Hudson wonders.
To hear more from Think Out Loud’s conversation with Mangum and Hudson, click the “play” button at the top of the page.