The Haverhill Civil Rights Commission plans to issue a statement later today, formally condemning the Christmas day vandalism and theft at Sacred Hearts Church.
Rabbi Ira L. Korinow, chairman, said stealing a statue of baby Jesus from the nativity scene and replacing it with a pig’s head, harms the entire community.
“Essentially we got together to condemn the act, that horrific act, that took place on Christmas Day apparently, at Sacred Hearts Church in Bradford. It was such a despicable act and really we consider it to be not merely an attack on the Catholic community in general, Sacred Hearts specifically, but also on everyone in the community,” Korinow said.
The citizens’ commission met at 9:30, this morning, at Temple Emanu-El. Sacred Hearts Pastor John Delaney was conducting a funeral service and could not attend. After consulting with Delaney later today, a formal statement will be issued. Members also discussed the idea of holding a community vigil or solidarity rally if members of the parish agree.
Jennifer Leibig, assistant regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, also attended the meeting.
The Haverhill Civil Rights Commission dates back to 1990 when a Ku Klux Klan planned a rally in a nearby community. It worked with the Haverhill City Council in having a proclamation issued Dec. 12, 2006, declaring the city a “No Place For Hate Community.”
“The City of Haverhill will maintain a policy of zero tolerance for hate crimes and will do our best to interrupt prejudice and stop those who, because of hate, would hurt, harass, or violate the civil rights of anyone,” the city’s proclamation read. It was signed at the time by Mayor James J. Fiorentini and City Council President Michael Hart.