Anti-hate rally draws Beacon Hill’s top Democrats

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BOSTON — A veritable “who’s-who” roster of  Beacon Hill’s most powerful Democrats —  along with a handwritten note of encouragement from Gov. Charlie Baker — made themselves heard at an anti-hate rally held Monday morning at the foot of the State House.

“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,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh proclaimed at the outset of the rally, organized by the Anti-Defamation League of New England.

Love aside, Republican Donald Trump also proved to be a winner earlier this month after besting Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. At Monday’s rally, various speakers drew links between Trump’s ascendancy to the Oval Office and an alleged increasing flurry of hate crimes and other instances of harassment reported across the state.

“I’m looking out at all the diverse leaders and all the beautiful people here today,” Walsh told the hundreds of people in attendance, many of whom held signs issued by the ADL that read, ‘no place for hate.’

State Treasurer Deb Goldberg in her remarks  stressed that while she’s “not accusing anyone in particular of being an anti-Semite or being anti-everyone,” she is “accusing them of nurturing and feeding the underbelly of the animal for their own interests.”

Referencing Trump’s recent hiring moves, Goldberg claimed the president-elect’s incoming administration has “pulled the cork out of the bottle, and from what I see, they’re not willing to put it back in.”

Goldberg alleged that Trump’s team is “trying to create veil of confusion” and added that “what we are seeing all over the country is a frightening escalation of hatred, intolerance and violence.”

Goldberg proceeded to call out “racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, attacks on the LGBTQ community” — before citing Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and drawing parallels to the rise of Nazi Germany.

“Germany, he said, was the most beautiful and sophisticated modern country in the world and the rise of nationalism began slowly in 1918 — not 1932 — but here in this country there are too many of us who will not be complacent,” Goldberg proclaimed.

Attorney General Maura Healey, who last week set up a 1-800 hotline for citizens to report harassment, also slammed the president-elect for saying “many things that raise constitutional concerns.”

Healey said that the hotline has received “almost 400 calls” since its launch last week.  

“We all know this was a deeply divisive election, and we’ve seen, yes, some deeply disturbing appointments so far,” Healey said. “We don’t know exactly what’s coming — this is an uncertain time.

“But there’s one thing that I’m certain about, and it’s that my office together with all of you will stand up, watch this administration closely, and won’t be afraid to fight for liberty and equality and do what is right.”

Baker, who did not attend the rally but provided ADL-New England Executive Director Robert Trestan with a letter to read aloud, wrote that the state’s strength lies in its “diversity and openness to the world.”

“Our state will remain a safe and welcoming place to live, work and raise a family,” Baker wrote, noting that his administration “rejects all forms of racism and discrimination and holds the duty of protecting the rights of all individuals in the commonwealth above all else.”

“We will ensure Massachusetts continues to lead by example, celebrating diversity, encouraging success, and helping one another.”

Others who spoke included Senate President Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) and House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop).

Rosenberg urged the crowd to “stand together and say ‘never again’” while DeLeo urged citizens to “stand against hate.”

“The Massachusetts state government will protect all of our residents no matter what is going on in Washington,” DeLeo said. “Standing in solidarity against hatred transcends all politics.”

Harmann Singh, a 22-year-old Harvard Law School student from Buffalo who told the Boston Globe he was recently accosted by another man inside a Cambridge store who believed him to be Muslim, also spoke, recalling how nobody who witnessed the exchange “said a word.”

Speakers who followed Rosenberg and DeLeo included Michael Curry, president of the Boston branch of the NAACP, and Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. Additional elected Democrats in attendance included six state representatives and four state senators, along with Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley and Boston City councilors Matt O’Malley and Josh Zakim, who spearheaded efforts to ensure sanctuary city protections for illegal aliens living in Boston.

At least one attendee, however, peppered Trestan with questions over whether the ADL will speak out against those who have harassed Trump supporters.

Tom Mountain, who directed the Trump campaign’s Jewish outreach efforts in Massachusetts and in New Hampshire and served as an alternate state GOP delegate at the Republican National Convention, asked Trestan posed the question following the rally.

“Yes it does,” Trestan said in response. “Nobody has the right to be harassed based upon who they voted for.”

Hours after the rally, Rosenberg was spotted at a media availability wearing a safety pin, a trend which began in the United Kingdom immediately following the Brexit vote and crossed the Atlantic after Trump defeated Clinton. 

“This is a program started by the Unitarian Church, I just learned about it at lunch today,” Rosenberg told reporters. “It’s to reflect that we don’t support hate here in Massachusetts — we respect the diversity of the people who live and work among us and it’s a simple sign of support for what the commonwealth stands for.”

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