State House Anti-Hate Rally Draws Hundreds

'Standing against bigotry transcends politics,' says Speaker Bob DeLeo.

shns state house rally fb

State House News Service

In the latest and most organized act of defiance in Massachusetts against a Donald Trump presidency, an anti-hate rally at the State House drew hundreds on Monday.

The Anti-Defamation League organized the rally, which attracted a swarm of demonstrators and featured Mayor Marty Walsh, House Speaker Bob DeLeo, Attorney General Maura Healey and others. The top state politicians joined civil rights advocates in saying they rejected rhetoric and policy based on hate, and decried acts of bigotry against minority communities.

It’s the latest in what has been a combination of strong words from elected leaders and protesting from groups angered by the election of Donald Trump.

“We will move civil rights forward, not backwards,” Walsh said in a speech. “We’ve said this more than once in Boston’s history. Love wins. Love wins equality, love wins civil rights, and love certainly defeats hate.”

The event comes two days after Walsh hosted a forum on racism at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, which had been planned long advance and which also drew hundreds.

State politicians have sought to calm fears in the state about what will happen when the Republican takes office—concerns abound about immigrants and communities of color, pro-equality movements in general, and specifically about picks for top positions in the White House that include a far-right media figure beloved by white supremacists

But not everyone put Donald Trump explicitly in the spotlight.

“Standing against bigotry transcends politics,” wrote House Speaker Bob DeLeo in a tweet. “It’s a matter of patriotism. MA government will protect our residents.”

Healey, the attorney general, has been outspoken since the election about her opposition to Trump. She also set up a hotline to report hate-crimes after reports of incidents around the country of minorities being targeted, and she tells Boston Public Radio today that her office has received around 400 phone calls since the hotline launched:

In Springfield, a Puerto Rican couple woke up to have their door keyed, ‘go home.’ In Attleboro, we saw graffiti in the schools, the N-word and the KKK. Last week, there were Ku Klux Klan newspapers dropped on doorsteps in the town of Milford. We had reports of a black woman and her daughter who claimed to have been run off the road —literally, they were in their car. A lot of taunts, a lot of harassment on racial, anti-semitic, homophobic, anti-immigrant lines.

.@MassAGO: History shows that when bigotry and hate arise, there’s no time to wait. We must stand together & denounce it.

— ADL New England (@ADL_NewEngland) November 21, 2016

Speakers at the rally Monday included Harmann Singh, a 22-year-old Harvard student and Sikh who says a man followed him and yelled Islamophobic comments at him inside a store in Cambridge and no one intervened.

Gov. Charlie Baker, who pledged last week to stick up for Massachusetts’ values in Washington (he also said he planned to work alongside the new administration, and remarked that there had been “too much pre-judging” of Trump’s team) was not at the rally due to a scheduling conflict, the State House News Service reports. But he sent a letter which was read out loud.

“Our state will remain a safe and welcoming place to live, work and raise a family,” it said.