After news that the New England Holocaust Memorial was vandalized for the second time this summer, a group of young Jews and allies have planned a vigil at the downtown Boston site.
IfNotNow Boston bills itself as a movement to end the American Jewish community’s support for the occupation of Israel and Palestine, instead turning it into a push for “freedom and dignity for all people,” explained Ally Little, a 26-year-old member.
IfNotNow planned the vigil for Tuesday night, Little said, to show immediate action following the vandalism.
“This is a really urgent moment for us to act as Jews, and we know that we can't wait for someone else to speak for us,” she said. “As young Jews, we have to say that we are the ones to take action against anti-Semitism, against white supremacy, and we have to do that now.”
About 200 people have already said that they will attend the vigil, according to the Facebook event page, with nearly 1,000 more people interested in the event.
Though there has been no official comment from the vandal or law enforcement about the motivation behind the shattering of one of the memorial’s glass panes, the connection to the recent white supremacist events in Charlottesville, Virginia, is unavoidable to the Jewish community.
“I felt my stomach drop,” Little said of when she first heard that the memorial had been damaged, “but at the same time, I wasn’t surprised. It’s not an accident that this type of anti-Semitic violence would take place the same week as the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville.”
“We know that now and in history, anti-Semitism and white supremacy go hand in hand and fuel each other,” she added.
The vigil will start at 6 p.m. at the site of the memorial, 98 Union St. in Boston. Members of the Jewish community and others impacted by white supremacy will share their stories, and people will sing songs from the Jewish tradition, Little said.
When a glass pane of the memorial was shattered at the end of June, members of the Jewish community talked about how they would remain resilient. The same sentiment rings true after this incident.
“This is our time to speak out. We are not afraid to oppose visible and violent racist hatred sweeping through the country,” said Little. “We are ready to stand with rest of the Boston community at this time and in the future.”