SALEM, Mass. — A North Shore city was hit with several incidents of anti-LGBTQ graffiti and vandalism early Wednesday morning, according to officials.
Officers responding to the Tabernacle Congressional Church on Washington Street around 3:30 a.m. for a report of defaced property found the front door was graffitied with anti-LGBTQ hate that read in part “Cancel LGBTQ 2024,” according to Salem Police. The Pride-themed crosswalk nearby was also vandalized, and investigators say other Pride-themed crosswalks and flags were defaced throughout the city.
It is unclear if all the defacements are connected.
“So many have worked hard to make Salem a community where everyone can feel safe and welcome,” said Mayor Dominick Pangallo. “I strongly condemn this act of hate and stand firmly with those members of our community who identify as LGBTQIA+.”
Salem Police Chief Lucas Miller echoed a similar sentiment, saying that he vows to find the person or people responsible.
“Targeting the LGBTQ community and defacing a church is unacceptable,” Miller said. “I stand with Mayor Pangallo in condemning this crime and I promise that finding and charging the perpetrator will be among our highest priorities.”
Police along with the Essex County District Attorney’s Office are working to identify the suspect or suspects involved. Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to contact the Salem Police Criminal Investigation Division at (978) 745-9700.
In a statement, Tabernacle Church said in part:
Tabernacle Church, United Church of Christ, Salem, Massachusetts is an open and affirming congregation that welcomes, respects, and supports people of every race, ethnicity, creed, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, and physical and mental ability, inviting all to join us on our journey of faith. We welcome all people to participate fully in the worship, rites, sacraments, and ministry of Tabernacle Church. Although we are many members, we are one body in Christ. As one body we are called and challenged by God to respect and reconcile our differences. Our faith calls us to speak up in the face of prejudice, injustice, and exclusion, and to express in a word and deed our hope for justice and inclusiveness for humanity.
Our doors are our statement to the community that “God’s doors are open to all.” This hateful act will not deter us from proclaiming God’s love to all people. The doors will be repainted and back up declaring what we believe: “Love Wins.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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