BOSTON (CBS) — Standing up and speaking out against hate, several groups from all races and religions rallied on the steps of state house Monday afternoon.
The Anti-Defamation League organized the rally. They say it’s an opportunity for the community to stand together against hate in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. In recent weeks there have been more than 300 complaints of harassment and threats to the state attorney general’s office.
“In Milford newspapers by the Ku Klux Klan were delivered to doorsteps in the middle of the night. And last week in Attleboro High School racist graffiti appeared on the walls of student bathroom using the n word and praising the KKK, this is the reality of the times we are living in,” Attorney General Maura Healey said at the rally.
In Billerica a swastika was spray painted on an abandoned school. And Monday someone took a picture of a water fountain at BJ’s in Quincy that had the word “black” on it.
“As much progress that we have made as a nation this is a reminder of how far we still have to go,” said Darnell Williams of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts.
“We must stand up for those around us,” said Harvard law student Harmann Singh, who spoke about being harassed in a Cambridge store. “Bystander intervention is a simple and effective way to counter hate and intolerance.”
Hundreds of people from around the region attended the rally.
Robert Trestan, the Boston regional director of the ADL, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens that the rally was an opportunity for the community to stand together against hate.
“In the past two weeks, there’s been over 700 reported hate incidents across the country, including many many in Massachusetts,” said Trestan. “The common theme is that people are being targeted, harassed, or the victims of vandalism or even violence for simply being who they are–whether that’s their color, their religion, their sexual orientation–and that doesn’t represent who we are as a city, as a state, or as a country, and we need to collectively say that that’s not who we are, and we are willing to stand up for our fellow Americans.”
Trestan said the national hostility leading up to the election has carried past Nov. 8–but said everyone is welcome at the rally, no matter who they supported in the wildly divisive race.
“This is an opportunity for us to come together as a community, irrespective of who we voted for or who we supported in the election … today is about everyone, regardless of whether you supported Hillary or whether you supported Donald, to say, ‘this is not acceptable.'”
The slogan for the rally was “No place for hate.”
Gov. Baker could not attend the the rally, but did write a letter reading in part that “The Commonwealth is and always has been a welcoming state.”
“We should and need to be bipartisan,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said, to cheers from the crowd. “We need to find common ground. We should be tolerant of many different views. We should respect the democratic process. But we will not remain neutral when hate rears its ugly head.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports