By Mayor Brian M. Arrigo
A silent and sinister affliction threatens our city. We wish it weren’t so, and we mobilize our municipal resources to fight it. It is a battle we must win, and it will take everyone’s cooperative effort to eradicate it from our midst, regardless how isolated I pray it is.
I speak not of Covid-19, but of ignorance.
On the morning of June 11 on Lantern Road in our city, we witnessed its latest manifestation when a car was vandalized with spray-painted swastikas and the words “white power” soiled the street.
The police characterize it as a “hate crime” and rightfully so. When the perpetrator is identified and brought into custody, our law enforcement community will exert the full extent of punishment.
But I am neither a police officer nor a law enforcement official. I am a Mayor of a city that boasts a widely diverse population of hardworking and cooperative people who look out for and take care of each other no matter their race, color, or orientation.
And so when I see what happened on Lantern Road, I call it racism and a crime of sheer ignorance. And I am both infuriated and saddened at the depth of ignorance that can motivate such a hideous act.
• It is an act of ignorance because the criminal who wielded the can of paint has no clue about the good and wholesome people whose lives are terrorized by such a cowardly act. Nationality or color or ethnic background all blend when people work to provide a fulfilling life for themselves and their families.
When a person cannot understand that basic tenet of human life, and attacks the sanctity of a neighborhood in the dark of night with such a vulgar act of racist vandalism, that person is not only hateful; that person is ignorant.
• It is an act of ignorance because the criminal who wielded the can of paint has no clue about sordid symbolism of the swastika. Almost 420,000 American soldiers died fighting against the swastika in World War II, a conflict that claimed nearly 75 million lives that included millions of civilians who lost their lives to genocide, massacres, and disease.
A person who today paints a swastika as some sort of ill-conceived statement is not only hateful; that person is ignorant.
• It is ignorant to bellow “white power” when our greatest power, our greatest strength, evolves from the united force of all our people working as one to elevate our discourse and foster our brotherhood and sisterhood toward mutual prosperity and societal security.
A person who defies the power of cultural harmony is not only hateful; that person is ignorant.
• And it is an act of ignorance because the criminal who wielded the can of paint has no clue about the resolve and tight bonds that make the people of our city protective of each other.
The act on Lantern Road has outraged our population, and their collective eyes and ears will eventually lead law enforcement to the sorry source of this atrocity.
When Covid-19 made its unwelcome invasion into our neighborhoods, essential workers, first responders, volunteers and compassionate people paid no attention to color and nationality and ethnic background as they joined forces to protect and help each other and suppress the peril. That is the Revere I am proud to lead. And that is the Revere that will prevail to expunge our community of the vile and obnoxious acts of ignorance that desecrate the City that we proudly call our hometown. We will never tolerate the ignorance that breeds racism, and we will commit our relentless energy to crush it.