Violent Incidents Prompt Silent Vigil

After two possible hate crimes last week against Harvard students, about 150 students, ministers, faculty and local residents turned out for an hour-long silent vigil against violence yesterday in the Square.

Carrying signs reading "Non-Violence is the Way," "Stop the Violence" and "Keep the Streets Safe," the marchers walked from Memorial Church to the Pit in Harvard Square, ending the afternoon on Brattle Street.

The silent vigil was organized by the Harvard United Ministry in response to an assault last Tuesday on a Muslim student and an assault last Sunday on three Harvard students. In both cases, Cambridge police are investigating the attacks as hate crimes and describe the assailants as possible skinheads.


The vigil was also protesting a general "climate that encourages violence," according to Rev. Irving Cummings, an American Baptist minister at Memorial Church.

"We need to make a statement that we stand for peace on our streets," Cummings told the crowd.

After a five-minute silent gathering on the steps of Memorial Church, Cummings and Undergraduate Council President Fentrice D. Driskell '01 led the marchers out of the Yard and into the Pit, where they faced the young people who regularly congregate in the Square.

The protesters attempted to walk a fine line during the rally, by condemning the violent attacks without indicting residents of the Pit.

"We're not going out there to blame a specific population," said Michael Sullivan, a Cambridge resident.

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