Laconia organizes vigil Oct. 8 in response to antisemitic graffiti

By ADAM DRAPCHO

Laconia Daily Sun

Published: 09-29-2023 12:48 PM

The recent appearance of antisemitic graffiti suggests there are some in the region who harbor hostility toward Jewish people and other groups. A vigil, planned for Sunday, Oct. 8, is an opportunity for the community to show support for a vision of a city that is welcoming, supportive and safe for all of its members.

The vigil is planned for 1 p.m. on Oct. 8 at Opechee Park. In a prepared statement, read into the record at Monday night’s city council meeting, Mayor Andrew Hosmer invited the public to join the vigil.

“Laconia, like many other communities across the country, is encountering an increasing number of acts of hate, intimidation and antisemitism,” read the mayor’s statement, read by Councilor Mark Haynes (Ward 4) since Hosmer was traveling during the meeting. The statement was issued shortly after a fresh batch of racist and neo-Nazi messaging was discovered to have been spraypainted on a building at the former Laconia State School property — not the first such incident in recent history at that location.

The graffiti was antithetical to the city’s values of inclusivity, respect and dignity, Hosmer wrote. “Acts of hate and intimidation remind us of our duty to remain vigilant in protecting our freedoms.”

Hosmer urged anyone who knows about the source of the graffiti to share that information with police, or to notify authorities of any new instances of vandalism, so that it can be investigated.

“It is important that acts of hate be reported immediately to ensure rapid response and remediation. If someone sees something, say something,” Hosmer wrote. Information can be shared with police by calling 603-524-5252, or anonymously through the Tips411 app or through the Crimeline at 603-527-1717.

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“We are stronger together, we are Laconia united,” Hosmer wrote.

Ira Keltz, president of Temple B’nai Israel, said the city’s robust response to the reappearance of hateful graffiti “means the world to the Jewish community of the Lakes Region. Silence is acceptance when acts like this go unanswered, and the fact that city officials, faith communities and regular citizens have rallied shows that the community understands that, and calls out those behaviors as unacceptable anywhere.”

The last time such a vigil was held, Keltz noted, there were attendees from across the state, as well as a diversity of the community’s faith groups represented. He hoped they would attend again, as well as “citizens who feel strongly about this issue show their support in great numbers.”

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org. 

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