Earlier in 2017 I received one of the most unexpected phone calls of my life – a young man named Evan introduced himself as the current student body president of Ashland High School (my alma mater) and asked if I’d be willing to be the keynote speaker at their graduation. I’d never felt so honored and immediately starting working on a speech that took me months to write.
Two weeks before the event, I was teaching workshops in Spain when I heard about the a murder in Portland, OR. and received a message that one of the victims in the attack graduated from Ashland. If you haven't had a chance to read about the three men who put their lives on the line to stand against hate, you simply must. Growing up in Ashland, a town of high-minded ideals that are too often lost in rhetoric to become real action, I was amazed to hear about how one of our own, Tilly Namkai-Meche (he deserves to be named), exemplified our values, even at the threshold of death.