On May 26, in Portland, Oregon, two people, Ricky John Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, were stabbed to death while Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was seriously injured.

These three persons stood up to defend two girls on a light-rail train who were being aggressively harassed by an angry man identified as Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35. One of the girls was wearing a hijab, which is why she became a target.

This incident proved again that some people still live with the fear of the other and have difficulties to accept diversity. About seven years ago, I had to flee from Burundi, where I suffered political persecution, and I ended up in Portland, Maine.

This new chapter of my life as immigrant taught me a new lesson about being different.

Difference could be based on various aspects such as race, religion, ethnicity, political opinion or sexual orientation, but at the end of the day, we all have one thing in common: humanity.

Despite the scapegoating and fear-mongering driven by some politicians just to score points and get elected, people can overcome biases and stand against wrong behaviors. Rhetoric that encourages violence should be avoided and I would like to invite Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Bruce Poliquin to speak out against the Oregon incident. President Trump also should discourage such behavior publicly; otherwise, the heroic action of Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche would be undermined.

Philemon Dushimire