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  • Writer's pictureJulie Smith-Galvin

Condemning Yesterday's Racist Event

I learned late last night that a group held a large "White Lives Matter" banner in various locations across Wakefield yesterday. The demonstration was apparently part of a national call for neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists to rally in cities around the country. As NBC reported, it was an effort that largely failed at the national level.

The group that landed on the shores of Lake Quannapowitt yesterday allegedly came after being driven out of Malden by counter protesters. Social media posters are reporting that they are members of NSC-131, a national neo-Nazis group founded in Massachusetts that is known to have participated in the January 6th capitol riot and said to use tactics such as "antagonizing social-justice protesters, vandalizing, and disseminating propaganda."

I am sad and angry that NSC-131 has come to our streets. We need to work together to stand up to their bigotry and hate. The next time they sneak into our town on a quiet Sunday afternoon, a call needs to go out to counter protest, and the police need to be alerted if there is any illegal behavior. BUT make no mistake, even if they never show up again, we can still take action to ensure that their hate is not welcome here.

Therefore, as I strongly condemn yesterday's rally, I also implore us to work toward eradicating racism. Wakefield has made important strides in the last few years with A Proclamation of Acceptance and Openness Among All Our Citizens, an active Human Rights Commission, and library programs like Conversations about Whiteness. It is not enough. I do not know what is enough or what the next steps are, but I know we need to do more. Much more.

As we start a new week in the shadow of yesterday's disgusting event, I ask that you reach out to friends and neighbors with a kind word or action and think hard about how we build a Wakefield that is welcoming to all. I am taking suggestions.

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