Support Sasha: Send Messages to Teen Set on Fire on Public Bus | Page 2 | Not in Our Town

Support Sasha: Send Messages to Teen Set on Fire on Public Bus

Luke Sasha FleischmanOverwhelming support has poured in for Luke “Sasha” Fleischman, an agender high school student who was set on fire Monday night on an Oakland, CA bus.
Police arrested a 16-year-old Oakland student for the immolation, and announced on Thursday that he will be charged as an adult for a hate crime.
Sasha was wearing a skirt at the time of the attack, which friends and family fear may have been the reason Sasha was targeted. The teenage attacker later admitted that he did it because he was “homophobic,”  according to lead police investigator Anwawn Jones. Sasha is currently a high school senior in Berkeley, CA.
In less than a day after the attack, supporters came forward to help Sasha, who sustained third-degree burns and will require massive skin grafting.

Update Nov. 14: Show Your Support in Oakland

Not In Our Town and Not In Our School will be joining the Rainbow Road march today at 5:30 p.m. We invite all to come forward and support a safe and inclusive community for all. 


Thursday 11/14 at MacArthur and Park 5:30pm
Walk the Rainbow Road 
All are invited to a March from Oakland High School to Ardley Avenue on Thursday night at 5:30pm. Wear bright colors and bring a ribbon to add to each of the bus poles if you wish. Following the March we will have a spaghetti dinner to celebrate our diverse community and learn more about all of the spectrum of human diversity.
Sasha and their family are excited about a march—now we need lots of folks to make a difference—and media to tell the story of love and support. Please join us.

Meet at the corner of Park and Macarthur and walk to Ardley Avenue. Dinner is one block away at the corner of Woodruff and Excelsior on the ground floor of St. Paul Lutheran Church.

Come to the March only or the dinner only, as you wish. Just come. :) And tell your friends and others too.

Sasha's Father Talks About Gender

As we come together in the aftermath of this hate crime, this is also an opportunity to discuss the language and expectations we have around gender. Sasha's father, Karl Fleischman, expressed these words with his colleagues and allowed us to share it with you. 
Another aspect of this story that has gotten a lot of attention is the fact that Sasha was wearing a skirt, "even though" Sasha appears to be a boy. The fact is, Sasha self-identifies as "agender, " and prefers the pronouns "they" , "them" , and "their" when people refer to Sasha in the third person. (English doesn't have commonly used gender-neutral third-person singular pronouns yet.) Being agender simply means that the person doesn't feel they are "either a boy or a girl." I realize this is a concept that even adults have difficulty wrapping their heads around. (My wife and I frequently slip up in our pronoun usage, much to Sasha's chagrin!) So I can't pretend that it's an issue that all young children will grasp. But what they certainly can and should understand is that different people like different things. Different people dress or behave or look differently. And that's a GOOD thing. Sasha feels comfortable wearing a skirt. It's part of their style. They also frequently sport a necktie and vest. Sasha likes the look, and frankly, so do I. It makes me smile to see Sasha being Sasha.
As I wrote above, none of us can know the mind of the kid who lit a flame to Sasha's skirt. But I have a feeling that if he had seen Sasha's skirt as an expression of another kid's unique, beautiful self, and had smiled and thought, "I hella love Oakland," I wouldn't be writing this now.

Show your support

If you're local, please join us today as we come together in Oakland. For everyone else, we still invite your messages of encouragement and support for Sasha, family, friends, and all who are targeted for their gender identity in the comments below. Messages will be forwarded to Sasha.
A few kind words can have a powerful impact. Let Sasha know that you care with a message below. 


Hi Sasha,

I admire your courage to be yourself and express that and share it openly with the world. Thank you for being braver than most of us sometimes allow ourselves to be. What happened to you is horrific and barbaric, but I hope you know that your story has touched many lives. Please hang in there and continue to grace us all with your inner being (: Best wishes to a speedy recovery <3


All power in healing that amazing body you dwell in! Peace in your heart and those around you. Surround you with light and love. May it seep into your community and hearts turn towards kindness, light, acceptance and love. Namaste'


I'm sorry you were targeted just for being yourself. Please take all the time you need to heal. The world needs more courageous people like you.

Sending love and positive energy your way

We support Sasha and support everyone being who they want to be, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, class, age, ability, or any other identity or characteristic. Just be the best you that you can be.


Get rid of racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, classism, ageism, ablism, militarism, violence, inequality, etc. and increase the peace!

Sasha, Thank you for your courage in being who you are and not what others expect. I pray your physical healing is going well and that the amazing love of your family, friends and supporters will bring about your full emotional recovery.

The news about this took a while to get to my state -- I am sorry I did not hear about this sooner...


All genders look amazing and beautiful in skirts.  Sasha looks awesome however Sasha celebrates life via colors and clothing.  Skirts are an amazing tool for celebrating diversity in humanness.  For those who care about Sasha and the amazing qualities Sasha brings to the world, nothing about this incident has changed how people think about Sasha, and I hope that if Sasha knows that, it will continue to help with moving forward in longterm recovery issues.  People are cheering for Sasha's "Sasha-ness" !  - And sending many hopes and prayers for all of you in finding fullness of spirit and living.  Many blessings to you, friend ~ many will be thinking of you often and hoping your health and insight will continue to be bountiful in this amazing Life to which you have brought zest.

Aloha Sasha. 

I am a Native Two-Spirit man and am writing you to let you know that you are not alone, and that you are admired for doing, and being who you are. Believe me when I say that you are saving lives by giving others the strength to be who they are.

Standing out and making a difference can be risky.....and, I admire you for your bravery and courage !

Don't give up...and keep being your beautiful self !!!!!

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