Special to the Journal
The Revere City Council unanimously approved a motion to go on record as denouncing all hateful acts of vandalism in the community, particularly the incident of vandalism that took place on Lantern Road on June 11. A vehicle was spray painted with a swastika and the words “White Power” were written on the street.
The Council also asked that if any resident in the area of Lantern Road has video of that night, they should share it with the Revere Police Department in its ongoing investigation of the incident.
“Hate has no place in Revere, and collectively as a community, we must stand up and denounce atrocious acts such as this,’ the Council stated in the motion that was sponsored by all 11 councillors.
Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna was one of several councilors to speak out against the June 11 act of vandalism on Lantern Road.
“This really saddens me and it surprises me, too, because I worked as a teacher at Revere High School, which is one of the most diverse schools in Massachusetts – and there were never any problems,” said McKenna. “The kids got along. There were no fights. Everybody appreciated being there. It was a wonderful place to be, so I’m surprised.”
McKenna said she agreed with Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso’s statement that “it’s only a small handful of people that did this.”
Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo said, “Unfortunately this is not the first time that this has happened. This type of hatred cannot be tolerated in our community. I hope this act gets investigated by the FBI as it is a hate crime. This should not be tolerated nowhere – and never again.”
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky delivered his remarks from a prepared text.
“We all know that a swastika is a symbol of hate and evil,” said Novoselsky, a past national commander of the Jewish War Veterans. “While this despicable act of hate was targeted toward a Muslim family, this act had a profound effect on me and my family as well.
“It has affected me first as a neighbor in a very diverse community where I was taught to ‘love thy neighbor,’’’ continued Novoselsky. “We are all good neighbors and we all look out for one another on a daily basis. I have chosen to live my entire life fighting against hatred, evil, and prejudice. I have chosen to love thy neighbor.
“When will this hate and evil stop? When will people learn to live in peace and harmony? When will human beings learn to respect each other? As far as I’m concerned, the time is right now. Let’s begin acting like decent human beings right now. Let’s watch out for our neighbors and not be afraid,” concluded Novoselsky.
On June 11, the Revere Police Department received reports that a car on Lantern Street had a swastika spray-painted on it. On the road near the parked car, the words “White Power” were also spray painted.
“I’m really concerned that it has not been called a hate crime by public officials,” shares Katherine Occena, longtime Revere-resident and activist. “Name it. Call it out. It’s a racist attack against groups of people. Full stop. It’s a hate crime.”
In response to these racially-motivated attacks, there will be a rally held at Revere City Hall this Friday afternoon at six o’clock. This event is being collaboratively organized by Moroccan American Connections In Revere (MACIR), a Revere-based mosque by the name of Association of Islamic Charitable Projects (AICP), and the youth organizers of the Revere Black Lives Matter March.
“Everyone of color in this city has a story regarding racism,” says Rashid, “No one should have to live in fear of becoming a victim of these hate crimes. We should give these people a voice, and all of us coming together will give one another confidence to confront this hate.”
Just last Saturday, local youth organizers were preparing a commemoration of Black life. While that event has been postponed to a later date, the organizers feel that not being notified about this racially-motivated attack could have possibly endangered them.
“The mayor and city officials knew about the hate crime, remained silent, and let us go ahead with the event we initially had planned for Saturday,” explains Jason Acosta, member of Revere BLM. “They let Black and Brown residents be put at risk? I’m not surprised, just disappointed.”
The lack of transparency from the city and their delayed response to the hate crime, “We will not allow hatred in our city, “declared the Mayor in a statement that was put out in response to this crime making local headlines. “Those who are responsible have no place here — they do not represent our people or the strong community of immigrants and diversity of people in race, culture and gender identity and we must continue our work together toward an anti-racist Revere.”
The Revere Police Department says they have immediately opened an investigation and that it is active and ongoing. The FBI and US attorney’s office, civil rights division, are involved and contacting the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office to enlist them in this matter.
The family says this was the third time in the span of nine months that they have been attacked. They are being legally represented by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
CAIR-MA civil rights director, Barbara J. Dougan says, “If the perpetrator is arrested and prosecuted, CAIR-MA will stand with the victims at every step in the court process.”
CAIR is offering a reward sum of $1,000 for anyone with any information to come forward. MACIR has also built a Go-Fund-Me page to raise the reward sum with donations. The MACIR reward sum is currently set at $2,500.