A rally was held Monday on the steps of the State House under the banner “No Place for Hate”. It was organized by the Anti-Defamation League in response to a spate of hate crimes sweeping the nation in the aftermath of the historic presidential election.
The ADL along with the Southern Poverty Law Center–both which monitor hate crimes—have come to the same conclusion.
“What we are seeing all over the country is a frightening escalation in hatred, intolerance, and violence.”
State treasurer Deb Goldberg says Massachusetts has not been spared the fallout from one of the most racially charged political campaigns in modern American history.
Incidents, Golberg said, have been reported In communities ranging from Wellesley to Northampton, to Cambridge.
Dozens of people of various faiths and colors listened as Mayor Marty Walsh–the son of Irish immigrants—describe the diversity of people born both in the US and outside it who make up the city of Boston. It was his response to heightened anti-immigrant rhetoric and incidents around the state in country in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. “We need to find common ground,” said Walsh.
One of the speakers at the rally was a Sikh man, a first year law student at Harvard, who was reportedly accosted by a man in Cambridge who called him an expletive that preceded the word Muslim.
Harmon Singh—originally from Buffalo, NY—said he was at a local convenience store near the school. “A man walked in and called me a name. He followed me around the store screaming you fu__ing Muslim.” But Singh said his main concern was that no one else in the store said a word “and none of us can afford to be silent when these happen,” he said.
A chilly wind cut swept across the Boston Common as the crowd–some in yarmulkes others in hijabs—stood facing the state house listening to speaker after speaker, in sometimes personal terms, describe incidents of hate that have been documented by the FBI, citing a more than 60 percent increase in attacks on Muslims alone in 2015.
And in the aftermath of the election, Attorney General Maura Healey told the crowd that nearly 400 people have called a hot-line set up in her office to report hate crimes. Attorneys and investigators are following up on many of the reports.
A couple visiting from Florida standing across the street from the rally said they had voted for Trump and that the demonstration was in their words “over the top.” Kris—who preferred a first name only—said the reports of hate crimes were exaggerated. But not for the hundreds who, according to the ADL, have experienced hostile language and physical threats.
Speaking toward the end of the rally, Michael Curry of the Boston NAACP, called for a grassroots response to possible Trump administration policies that many fear will roll back hard earned gains by women, African Americans, LGBT, and other groups. As the 400 or so attendees in the crowd began to drift away some told WGBH News that they will begin organizing long-term against an incoming Administration that has pledged to deport undocumented immigrants and has hinted of establishing a Muslim registry. “Unacceptable” said Curry. “Unacceptable.”