“Hate Has No Place Here” Natick Community Reacts To Antisemitic Graffiti
NATICK (WBZNewsRadio) – It didn’t take long for residents to cover up hateful graffiti discovered on late Thursday evening near the West Natick MBTA Commuter Rail station. A swastika sprayed on the ground with black paint was quickly transformed into a work of art with the message; “Hate has no place here.”
Natick police have opened an investigation into the incident and have released a statement condemning the antisemtic graffiti.
“Natick unequivocally opposes all acts of hate, prejudice, intolerance or discrimination against all peoples,” Select Board Chairman Bruce Evans said in a statement. “These moments service as a harsh reminder that we must stand vigilant as a community and continue to make progress via greater education and community outreach. I make this next statement on behalf of the Select Board, town staff and all who associate with Natick, this act is in full opposition to the morality and the convictions of a town fully committed to acceptance and belonging. As an important part of that, we are in the process of hiring a director of equity, inclusion and outreach.”
But it was the actions of the community that really caught the attention of police and Evans.
“A silver lining did arise from this incident,” Evans added. “As the town staff approached the scene to remove this hateful act, it came to our attention that residents had already rallied to ‘combat’ this act with beautiful chalk artwork drawl atop this hateful imagery and blotting it out. Thank you to all Natick residents who stand alongside myself, the Select Board and the town staff.”
Police said the chalk artwork would remain in place until Monday, but it appears as though the department of works has already covered the graffiti.
Jewish leaders in Natick also condemning the graffiti. In a letter to the community, Rabbi Levi Fogelman of the Chabad Center called the incident a “cowardly act.”
“The purpose of an antisemitic act such as this, is no doubt done to attempt to create intimidation and fear. But how we respond belongs to us.” He wrote. “The reality is that Natick is a wonderful town with beautiful, kind heartened and good people. We are grateful to live in this environment and enjoy an atmosphere of peace and cohesion. My phone has been ringing with calls of support and strength. Our friend’s neighbor, a woman who is not Jewish, couldn’t let it go. She covered up the appalling image with chalk and wrote ‘hate has no place here.’ What can we do? How do we respond? One of the things we can do is express our own Jewish pride and identify in ways that we may not have been accustomed to do until now. The best way to stop darkness is to double our efforts with light and goodness. We take control of our response with acts of positivity and pride. When negativity sees that all they accomplished was to strengthen us even more, it will lose. Individually, it may be through putting a Mezuza on our door, lighting Shabbat candles, wearing a kipa, showing up in Shul more often, etc.”
Now Rabbi Fogelman is encouraging the community to stand together against these acts of hate in a community gathering Sunday morning at the Boden Lane Bridge, before marching together to the Chabad Center parking lot.
“Originally planned as a small intimate event for this Sunday morning, we are extending the invitation to the entire community and will host our Maimonides Cycle of Study Celebration outdoors in the Chabad parking Lot,” Fogelman said. “The teachings of Maimonides represent Education, Ethics and true peace. Let us increase more goodness, light and joyous celebration.”