Stickers of a white nationalist hate group were found on cars parked outside an outdoor market supporting black and brown businesses at an event in the Boston area last weekend.
Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices, a nonprofit founded following the death of George Floyd last year, said attendees saw three openly armed men placing stickers from the white supremacist group Patriot Front on cars at Sunday’s event. The association alleges that the actions of the three men were “intended to intimidate our vendors, participants and volunteers.”
The Patriot Front is described as a white nationalist hate group that was formed in the wake of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Haverhill Town Police have been notified of the incident.
“We want to remind everyone that the staff and board of MVBBVoices are all currently volunteer, unpaid and working countless hours to ensure that everything we do is possible,” the association said in a statement. . “After this incident, many of our members were triggered and our team collectively decided to take some time for mental health. All messages and email responses will be delayed until further notice.”
Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices was founded to help provide “Blacks, Indigenous people and people of color in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts a safe space to connect, share resources, and create systemic change to eliminate prejudice and discrimination. in the surrounding communities ”.
The group organizes various social and cultural events, as well as support for individuals and families in need and local black and brown businesses.
Haverhill Police Department said on Friday they were aware of the incident and were investigating.
“HPD takes these matters very seriously and asks anyone with information to contact HPD Det. Welch 9787221558, ”the department tweeted.
The association said that while it “will not be discouraged or surrender to such intimidation,” it will postpone its planned second summer market, originally scheduled for July 25, until “further news precautions are taken “.
The group also said that a recent racist attack in Winthrop that turned deadly was behind its decision to postpone the next event.
Winthrop shooting being investigated as a possible hate crime after the gunman, who killed two people last month, used “disturbing white supremacist rhetoric” targeting blacks and Jews , according to officials. Both victims were black.
“This is just a prime example of what we mean when we say that BIPOC faces systems of oppression when trying to achieve its goals,” wrote Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices, referring to blacks, natives and other people of color.
“It is overwhelming that we have to implement and expand additional emotional work in order to host and plan our events, when other farmers’ markets are not required to,” the statement said.