“Silence is death. And we can’t be silent any longer…we have to raise our voices as one strong voice,” said Rabbi Joshua Cohen at a rally held in Brockton, MA after a horrific hate crime last month left two people dead and one hospitalized.
22-year-old Keith Luke allegedly killed a 20-year-old woman and a 72-year-old man. Luke also allegedly raped and shot the 22-year-old sister of the woman who died. He was finally brought down by police after he crashed into two vehicles while trying to evade the cops in his van.
Luke has been charged with two counts of first degree murder, one count of aggravated rape, and two counts of armed assault with intent to kill. All of his victims are of Cape Verdean descent. Authorities say Luke, who is white, was intending to kill as many nonwhites and Jews as he could.
There have been a series of vigils and rallies in the days following the crimes. The Anti-Defamation League of New England hosted a peace vigil just four days after the murders at Temple Beth Emunah, the synagogue where Cohen is from and where authorities say Luke was planning to conclude his attack. The 45-minute vigil drew out about 500 people, packing the pews of the synagogue and spilling over into the side aisles. Speakers throughout the event stated that the hate crime struck all members of the community and affirmed the need to come together to make a stand against the violence.
At a “No Place for Hate” rally held at city hall the day before, Cohen emphasized the need for community action:
“And together as a community, as people of different backgrounds, of different religious beliefs, of different colors of skin, together, we can eradicate hate and racism and violence… But we can only do it as one group, as one voice, showing that we are one community.”