Micah Fletcher survived a stab wound to the neck last week when he stood up to an attacker who was harassing two teenage girls on a train in Portland, Oregon.
Two other men, Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, who also came to the girls’ aid, were stabbed and killed.
Fletcher has said he is still trying to make sense of what happened.
On Wednesday, the 21-year-old got the chance to meet with Destinee Mangum, one of the girls he was injured defending, and her family. Mangum’s mother, Dyjuana Hudson, posted about the experience on Facebook, calling Fletcher an “angel” and a “hero.”
“Finally got a chance to meet one of the angels that saved my daughter’s life,” she wrote. “Micah is one of the best genuine hearted people you will ever meet.”
In an emotional interview, Mangum told Fox affiliate KPTV this weekend that she wanted “to say thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me, because they didn’t even know me.”
“They lost their lives because of me and my friend and the way we looked,” Mangum continued. “I just want to say thank you to them and their family, and I appreciate them, because without them we probably would be dead right now.”
Fletcher was one of three people stabbed after confronting a man on a MAX train for verbally attacking Mangum, 16, and her 17-year-old-friend, who is Muslim and was wearing a hijab. Police arrested Jeremy Christian, who has ties to white supremacist groups, soon afterward.
Fletcher, a student at Portland State University, told USA Today on Tuesday that he’s still “healing” from the May 26 attack. “I got stabbed in the neck on my way to work, randomly, by a stranger I don’t know, for trying to just be a nice person,” he said.
On Wednesday, Fletcher released a video on Facebook thanking supporters for an outpouring of kindness and money, but adding that there’s a problem that needs addressing.
“We need to remember that this is about those little girls,” he said. “I want you to imagine that for a second being a little girl on that MAX. This man is screaming at you. His face is a pile of knives. His body is a gun. Everything about him is cocked, loaded and ready to kill you.”
He noted that there’s a “white savior complex” present in society that has placed all the focus on the three men who stood up to Christian, rather than addressing the daily, lived experience of racism and Islamophobia that young people like Destinee and her friend face.
In a statement during Christian’s court hearing on Tuesday, Fletcher said: “I want the Muslim community to know that they have a home here in Portland and are loved.”
The 21-year-old is also a poet and has written pieces about Islamophobia in the past. Oregon Live reported that Fletcher won a 2013 poetry competition for two pieces of work: one that dealt with the blame rape victims face and another focused on the prejudice leveled at Muslims in America after the attacks on September 11, 2001.