Organizers of a “Black & Brown Owned Outdoor Market” that took place Sunday in downtown Haverhill say they are delaying a similar event in North Andover after, they say, someone reported “three openly armed men” placing racist stickers on cars during the Haverhill event.
In a statement, the board of Merrimack Valley Black & Brown Voices said the stickers represent the flag of the Patriot Front. According to the Anti-Defamation League, Patriot Front is a white supremacist group that “espouses racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance.”
“We conclude that the actions of this group were intended to intimidate our vendors, attendees, and volunteers. They hope to sow fear and to dissuade our communities from coming together,” said the board of Merrimack Valley Black & Brown Voices in a statement signed by Mayara Reis, Elizabeth Walther-Grant, Bria Gadsden, Ani Azur, Elizabeth Buckley, Gabrielle Womack and Miguel Quinones.
Acting Haverhill Police Chief Anthony L. Haugh said the department became aware of the concerns from a social media post. “We take this matter very seriously and ask that any witnesses or anyone with knowledge of the incident to please contact Haverhill Police Detective Rick Welch at 978-722-1558.”
Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said he contacted the principal organizers as soon as he heard of the report.
“When I received notice that something may have occurred, I immediately reached out to the lady I was told was the organizer of the event. I assured her that if this did occur, that it was not acceptable in our community. I assured her that she and her organization were welcome here. I also assured her that if this right wing organization was here that they do not represent the fine people of Haverhill,” the mayor said.
The group organized an outdoor market last Sunday, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Haverhill’s riverfront boardwalk near 70 Merrimack St. They said a similar event planned Sunday, July 25, in North Andover is being postponed “until further precautions are taken.”