Racist graffiti appears on Mount Tom

  • Graffiti on Mount Tom. SUBMITTED PHOTo

  • Graffiti on Mount Tom. SUBMITTED PHOTO

  • The photos of Mt. Tom's summit were allegedly taken on Sunday.

@amandadrane
Published: 11/10/2016 10:32:26 PM

EASTHAMPTON — A rash of hateful graffiti swept the nation surrounding Tuesday’s election, and it appears the outbreak made its way to Happy Valley.

Barely a month after volunteers cleaned graffiti off rocks along Mount Tom’s summit, photos that went viral on social media Thursday suggest the rocks were painted anew — this time with more hateful language.

The photos were allegedly taken on Sunday. The Gazette was unable to independently confirm the existence of the graffiti before deadline.

According to the photos, “Trump 2016” and swastikas were painted alongside several directives, including “gas the jews” and “kill all (n— word).”

In an interview with the Gazette, Anti-Defamation League Director Robert Trestan said he contacted law enforcement officials and they’re looking into the messages.

“This incident’s not just a hate symbol, it’s combined with a message to kill people,” he said of the racist and anti-Semitic statements. “It contradicts the values on which America was founded — that warrants condemnation from everyone.”

Trestan, who oversees the ADL’s New England office, said the local episode is not the only one.

“Post-election we’re seeing an uptick in incidents all over the country,” he said, adding that the ADL is tracking them all. “Each one of us, regardless of who we voted for, needs to stand up against this kind of graffiti.”

Other incidents

Photos of the graffiti, as well as other incidents reported this week in downtown Northampton, prompted Northampton City Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra to address residents via social media, sharing information about how to report harassment and hate crimes to police and the attorney general.

“It’s so upsetting to see something like this translating to Northampton and it’s important for us to stand up as a community, to say we protect people’s fundamental rights as humans,” Sciarra said in a phone interview.

In her Facebook post, Sciarra referred to “a report of something misogynistic and violent being said to a woman in Northampton.”

She told the Gazette that a woman reportedly was downtown Wednesday, crying as she watched Hillary Clinton’s concession speech on her phone. Sciarra said the woman, whom she knows, reported a man came up behind her, looked at her phone and said: “You arrogant ‘c---s’ are gonna be exterminated.”

Sciarra said the incident has not yet been reported to police. Asked about Trump-related incidents, police said Thursday another woman reported a man made “an inappropriate comment” to a woman as she walked down Masonic Street on Wednesday.

“It says something about where we are right now,” said Easthampton City Councilor Jennifer Hayes, adding that there’s more good than bad in the community and that people are already flocking to a Facebook page focused on cleaning up Mount Tom.

“I would really like to personally thank (Naima Workman) and everyone who signed up to help. We’re all going to need to come together, and hopefully we won’t have too many of these sorts of incidents.”

Workman, owner and operator of Northampton yoga studio Shiva Shakti, spearheaded an effort last month to clean previous layers of graffiti. Volunteers spent more than a day clearing the rocks, and about $5,063 was raised for the project. The first round of clearing cost $2,800.

“If anything its galvanized people to work harder cleaning it up,” Workman said of new graffiti on the freshly cleaned rocks. “People are really interested in helping out — the group has doubled in size in the past couple of hours.”

The reaction, she said, has been heartening.

“It’s great to see, in times like these, people want to do something positive for their communities,” she said.

Amanda Drane can be contacted a adrane@gazettenet.com.




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