The city will be coming together next Tuesday at a vigil to combat racism and promote unity after a hangman’s noose was seen at the Post Office in the Denholm building across from City Hall.
The noose, spotted last month by a customer in the employee section of the office, sparked outrage from the NAACP, city officials and leaders of other ethnic groups in the city.
“People are appalled that such an image of hate and violence could be up at the post office, in view of customers,” said Patricia Yancey, President of the Worcester NAACP Chapter.
“This symbol, the most horrific form of intimidation and violence, reminds us all of the shameful history of slavery and sustained violence against African Americans in the United States,” Yancey said in an email to the community. “African Americans are not the only group of people who have been killed and terrorized by the hangman's noose. Throughout history, sustained violence against minority groups have oppressed, divided and created an environment of racism and hate.”
The noose was reported to the NAACP on June 25 and it has since pushed for government officials to investigate its source.
An investigation by the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Postal Service began shortly after and is still ongoing.
In response to the incident, city officials, along with the NAACP, Families United for Change, the New England Office of the Anti-Defamation League and the Worcester Black Clergy Alliance, have planned a vigil for next Tuesday night at 5 p.m. outside of City Hall.
“We are trying to rob this incident of the negative things it may have been intended for and turn it into something positive,” said City Manager Ed Augustus. “We want to give people the chance to speak out against this hateful act.”
Participants will pledge to combat prejudice by signing a poster-sized Resolution of Respect during the ceremony. Various officials, including the mayor, city manager and a representative from the attorney general’s office will speak.
“This is a chance for the community to come together and heal,” Yancey said. “This isn’t who Worcester is.”