The New England Holocaust Memorial in downtown Boston was vandalized Monday evening after a teenaged suspect hurled a rock through one of the monument’s glass panels.
Around 6:40PM EST on Monday, August 14, merely two days after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, a 17-year-old suspect from Malden, Massachusetts threw a rock at one of the six glass towers of the Holocaust memorial before being tackled and detained by two bystanders, according to a news release by the Boston Police Department. The attack shattered a panel and with it the notion that Boston is distanced and removed from hate.
This is not the first attack on the memorial, in June earlier this year a 21-year-old Roxbury man committed a similar attack by shattering a different panel.
Comprised of a number glass panels that are inscribed with numbers to pay remembrance to the victims of the Holocaust, the memorial erected in 1995 has never been vandalized before this year.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum expressed their alarm in a press release issued earlier today. The organization said it is “deeply alarmed by the vandalism at The New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston,” calling the act “an egregious affront to Holocaust memory and Holocaust survivors as well as American society.”
Mayor Marty Walsh was one of many to take to Twitter to express his condolences, saying:
Today & every day Boston stands up against hate. I’m saddened to see such a despicable action in this great city. (1/2)
— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) August 15, 2017
The nation is still reeling in shock following the horrific events that took place in Charlottesville when a white nationalist rally turned violent, resulting in the death of a protestor. The beginning of the week has already seen strong reverberations across the nation, as anti-hate protests gathered momentum from Oregon to Illinois to New York. The protests aimed to show solidarity and unity, as well as that people are willing to stand against the few who choose not to stand with everyone else.
With the desecration of the memorial adding to the pain of the weekend, it has shown that as a nation racial hate is not a dormant problem.
In the now three days since the Virginia rally, social media has been flooded with graphic and sickening photos of the proceedings of the rally. White males wearing dark military outfits and sporting shaven heads, faces mid shout were pictured.
Yet perhaps the most unnerving images were the snapshots of college kids, clad in hoodies featuring their respective college or favorite football team, proudly raising an arm with a swastika armband.
I looked at these images, disgraced, from the comfort of the “open-minded” and geographically removed city of Boston. Notably, although yesterday’s attack on the Boston memorial has not been confirmed as a hate crime, it came at a time too tender to ignore.
In a series of Youtube videos posted immediately after the rally, anti-semitic, white nationalist and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke, took pride in how he was the oldest attendee at the white nationalist rally. Duke repeatedly pointed out that the alt-right and white power movements are beginning to flourish with young people. His unsettling comments serve as a lesson that needs to be taken.
The lesson being that while hate has long been stereotyped as an older generation problem, in the wake of a volatile modern social climate, young white men are fast joining the ranks of white nationalist movements. This alarming new trend is most dangerously redefining the “typical” demographic of hate groups. Racial hate is no longer an older problem, but one that newly ignores boundaries in regards to background, age, race or level of education. While the exact motive of yesterday’s attack has not been confirmed, the suspect’s young age and geographical closeness is a stark warning: hate does not discriminate.