Haverhill Groups Plan Tuesday ‘Stop the Violence’ Vigil In Wake of City Murders

(File photograph.)

Haverhill residents are gathering at GAR. park Tuesday, June 5 for a “Stop the Violence” Vigil. (File photograph)

Several city civic and community groups are coming together Tuesday night at Haverhill’s GAR Park to peacefully protest the recent uptick in violence, including the recent murder of Nike Colon.

Community Action, the Mount Washington Alliance, Urban Kindness, Haverhill High School’s VIP program and POSE (Power of Self Education) are among the organizations set to gather from 6-8 p.m. Following speeches and other activities at GAR Park, the group intends to walk to Harbor Place for a candid and open community discussion on how to find solutions to crime. In the case of inclement weather, the rally will move indoors at the Welcome Street Citizens Center.

Katrina Everett of the POSE group is hopeful the event will help residents understand that curbing violence requires more than just one entity or city agency.

“The thing that’s encouraging about Tuesday is that the community coming together,” Everett told WHAV. “To think that one agency, or the police department, is responsible for the change that needs to happen citywide, is fairy tale.”

State Rep. Andy Vargas—who helped coordinate community efforts through his Beacon Hill office—has been impressed with how locals have stepped up to say “no more.”

“The community recognizes that violence is not normal and that we’re willing to do something about it,” Vargas told WHAV. “We’re going to roll up our sleeves, ask tough questions and come up with tangible action items that can improve the lives of those who are more prone to violence in Haverhill.”

Tuesday’s rally comes nearly three weeks after the drive-by shooting death of 20-year-old Colon in the city’s Mount Washington neighborhood. His alleged killer, Eddy Almonte, was arrested May 29 in Virginia and is awaiting extradition to Massachusetts to face charges. The May 6 murder of Haverhill’s Jeffrey Larkin on Emerson Street remains unsolved.