HOPKINTON, Mass. — The Town of Hopkinton finds itself at the center of a conversation over race as it prepares for what could be a major rally over the investigation into the death of teenager Mikayla Miller last month.
Hopkinton Schools are closing early Thursday, and security preparations are being finalized. All of that as activists and a prominent congresswoman call for a new investigator to take over the case.
In Hopkinton, town leaders are hoping Thursday’s rally will be peaceful. On Wednesday at noon, a group of pastors from local Christian churches held a prayer service on Hopkinton Town Common.
“This can happen anywhere. We have to pray for the healing of our youth and community, especially in this,” said Pastor Sarah Watson of the Vineyard Church.
The death of Mikayla Miller is on almost everyone’s mind in Hopkinton. The teenager was found dead in the woods near her home on April 18.
The two words we heard the most in the town of fewer than 20,000 people were “confusion” and “impatience.” People want to get to the bottom of this case and fast. One of Mikayla’s classmates told Boston 25 News that the confusion around this investigation has made it almost impossible to focus at school with everybody wanting some sort of closure in this tragedy.
On Tuesday, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan unveiled new details about the investigation, suggesting Miller may have taken her own life. But doubts persist.
The group Violence in Boston is staging Thursday’s rally, suspecting that Mikayla may have been murdered and possibly a victim of a racial hate crime. In a joint statement on social media, group leaders Tito Jackson and Monica Cannon Grant said the DA, along with state and local police, are all incapable of properly investigating Mikayla’s death.
The statement reads in part:
Today, we are calling for an independent investigation into the death of Mikayla Miller and are asking elected officials and activists from across Massachusetts and the country to stand up for Black lives by joining us and lending your own voice to our call for an independent investigation.— Joint statement from Tito Jackson and Monica Cannon Grant
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley added her voice to the call for a new investigator.
On Wednesday, the Congresswoman tweeted: “Mikayla Miller deserved to grow old. She had so many basketball games, roadtrips [sic], and HBCU homecomings ahead of her. She deserved childhood, uninterrupted. There needs to be a full, transparent, independent investigation into her death.”
Two other Massachusetts politicians, Attorney General Maura Healey and Senate President Karen Spilka, also issued statements supporting a full and thorough investigation. Senator Spilka said she will attend Thursday’s rally in Hopkinton.
Cox Media Group