Rally for injured teen draws hundreds

on November 19, 2013

The attack on 18-year-old Sasha Fleischman, whose clothing was set alight on a bus November 4, continues to provoke an outpouring of support for the injured teen.

In the latest display of sympathy for the burn victim, community members in Fleischman’s Glenview neighborhood came out en masse last Thursday to march down MacArthur Boulevard. The marchers tied ribbons to bus signs along the way, before gathering at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Teachers and students from Oakland High School, where 16-year-old suspect Richard Thomas was a student before his arrest, marched alongside Fleischman’s neighbors and supporters.

One Oakland High freshman, Natalya Wis, 14, said she wanted to prove that the incident doesn’t represent her community. “I’m here because most people think Oakland High is a school full of hate, but we’re really not,” she said. “Sasha was an innocent person, and it doesn’t matter what you are — male, female or both.”

In the days following the incident, in which the agendered high schooler’s kilt was set on fire as he slept in the back of an AC Transit bus in Oakland, fellow students at Berkeley’s Maybeck High School, where Fleischman is a senior, wore kilts in solidarity.

More than $5,000 in donations flowed in over just two days after the family set up an online fundraiser to treat Fleischman’s burns.

Earlier today, city council members Roberta Kaplan and Lynette McElhaney called on the city council to “express its solidarity with Flesichman” at tonight’s meeting.

The two will speak on Wednesday at the Transgender Day of Remembrance at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.

For more perspectives from the march and rally, see the above audio slideshow.

1 Comment

  1. […] was hospitalized with burn injuries, and in the wake of the incident, hundreds turned out at an Oakland rally in the teen’s honor to support people of all gender and sexual identities. According to police, Thomas said the […]



Photo by Basil D Soufi
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