A little over a month after suffering stab wounds to the neck, Micah Fletcher, survivor of the May 26 MAX train stabbings, will return to his roots as a performer and artist, according to the organizer of a hip-hop skills competition scheduled to take place at the end of the month.
Leaning on the doors outside Valentine’s in downtown Portland, I witnessed Micah stand for peace. That night, a drunken hipster ran by chasing a homeless man while hurling empty soda cans and yelling violent threats. Eventually, the hipsters’ intoxicated shouts subsided, but not before he heaved a crushed Pepsi can striking Micah’s face. After being hit, Micah simply looked up at the drunk man and firmly commanded him to walk away while forming a barrier with his own body between the hipster and the assault victim. The drunken hipster then stated that it was people like Micah that “make the world terrible by defending scum” and walked off. Right then, Micah manifested an example of sacrifical love and a reclamation of dignity for human beings; I was awestruck by his fearlessness.
The Verbal Vanguard Awards will put competitors through a series of lyrical challenges, with the winners determined by a panel of local rappers, including Mic Capes, Mic Crenshaw and Rasheed Jamal. Fletcher—who won the 2013 Verselandia poetry competition as a high school junior—signed up for the event prior to the attack on the MAX, but Starr says he is still committed to participating.
Other participants include Alexis Cannard, a student at Roosevelt High School who recently took third place in the national August Wilson Monologue Competition in New York.
Meanwhile, a host of local MCs, including Cool Nutz, Mic Capes and Libretto, will perform at a benefit concert for the victims of the attack June 16 at Roseland Theater.