A newspaper box carrying a local LGBT publication exploded in what is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
A box for The Rainbow Times in Salem, Massachusetts, blew up on on Essex Street early Tuesday morning around 1am, shaking the downtown area.
The explosion, heard up to a mile away, was captured on security camera.
Publisher Gricel Ocasio said the staff was "dismayed and astounded" by the incident, but despite other boxes having been vandalized recently, she
she didn't expect it to escalate this far.
"Hatred against our community and any other marginalized community happens everywhere and the progressive City of Salem isn’t an exception," she said in a statement.
"In the current political climate, when a presidential candidate can use inflammatory words and actions—even encouraging violence—towards people of other backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations and other identities, then we must prepare ourselves for the inevitable consequences of such violent rhetoric."
Ocasio called the incident an attack "against the heart of Salem."
"Salem is a community that has worked hard to be a place of progress and unity," said Mayor Kim Driscoll, who appeared on the cover of Rainbow Times' August issue. "This cowardly attack runs contrary, not simply to that work, but to what it means to be a city whose very name means peace."
"Fear and hate may cloud the hearts of those committing this act, but it will never, ever characterize this community," she added.
Below, read The Rainbow Times' full statement:
"This act is something that affects Salem as a whole. We were dismayed and astounded by this vitriolic hate crime that happened to The Rainbow Times on Tuesday at 1:19am. The Rainbow Times had experienced, for the past three months, various instances in which our news boxes in Salem were being vandalized. The acts were happening often enough that I believe we have close to 10 reports with the Salem PD.
However, we didn’t expect the situation to escalate to this level.
Hatred against our community and any other marginalized community happens everywhere and the progressive City of Salem isn’t an exception. In the current political climate, when a presidential candidate can use inflammatory words and actions--even encouraging violence--towards people of other backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations and other identities, then we must prepare ourselves for the inevitable consequences of such violent rhetoric. Most importantly, this is not just an act against The Rainbow Times or the LGBTQ community and its allies, but against the heart of Salem.
Anyone could’ve been hurt by this irresponsible and cowardly act and we should all unite as a community to find the perpetrators.
We at The Rainbow Times will not be censored. We will continue our diligent work and we will not be silenced by ignorance or hatred. In the meantime, we will have new boxes at the site of the explosion and will continue to work with the Salem Police Department, the Mayor’s Office and the community as a whole to stand against hatred of any kind. Lastly, we thank the Mayor, the Salem PD Captain Conrad Prosnewski, City Councilors David Eppley and Beth Gerard, Salem No Place for Hate Committee Chair Jeff Cohen, State Representative Paul Tucker and many other community leaders, members, and allies who have joined us in the fight against hatred and discrimination from these seven individuals who obviously do not know what community is really about and what it means to Salem residents.
h/t: LGBTQ Nation