A group participating in Sunday’s “Portland Stands United Against Hate” issued a statement Friday saying it respected a call to cancel the event but would proceed anyway.

“The best hope for preventing further violence comes from a powerful, united response to stand against a growing threat … (that) will continue to take many innocent lives if we do not act now,” says the statement issued by the Planning Committee of Portland Stands United Against Hate Coalition. “Silence equals death. We do not want to see one more family with a victim to mourn.”

The committee issued the statement in response to MAX attack survivor Micah Fletcher’s grandmother saying Thursday that she hoped weekend demonstrations — a pro-Trump free speech rally also is planned for Sunday downtown — be canceled.

“There is fear from the family that there could be unfortunate circumstances happening because emotions are so high right now from all parties, and we just don’t want to see any more people injured or killed,” Janis Heater told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Heater’s grandson, Fletcher, was among those who came to the aid of two girls who were the target of Jeremy Joseph Christian’s racist vitriol on a MAX train last Friday, according to police and witnesses. Christian is accused of pulling a knife and striking Fletcher and two other men who came to the girls’ defense. The other two men died.

More than 2,000 Facebook users say they’ll be demonstrating Sunday at events in downtown Portland, one of which is the pro-Trump rally. A downtown “March for Truth” is planned for Saturday, as well.

A Facebook posting about Sunday’s Portland Stands United Against Hate lists 11 sponsors and says 1,200 people will attend the event, set for 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Portland City Hall.

“The pain and terror that has descended upon Micah’s family is unimaginable, and we extend a strong message of love and support to the families of all five victims,” says Friday’s Coalition statement. “We heed Ms. Heater’s words with deep respect and appreciate that this request comes from a desire to seek peace and prevent violence.”

–Allan Brettman

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