Somebody with a can of black spray paint tried to scare off the people building and supporting what will be New England's first LGBTQ-friendly senior-citizen apartment complex overnight, by spraying homophobic and threatening messages on signs outside the former Rogers Middle School but all they did was fire those people up who vowed to work even faster to open its doors to its first residents.
At an impromptu vigil called this afternoon, Mayor Wu said the Boston Police civil-rights unit is now on the case and is reviewing surveillance video from the area around the Pryde construction site at Everett Street and Harvard Avenue, across from the BPL branch. An aide to acting Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden told roughly 75 people that the sprayers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
One of the messages sprayed overnight:
Some of the people who came out to reject the messages:
After brief speeches by elected officials, people then plastered pro-Pryde, pro-LBGTQ and pro-Hyde Park signs over the graffiti.
Gretchen Van Ness, executive director at LGBTQ Senior Housing, which is shepherding the project, said she found out about 8:30 this morning that signs on both the Everett Street and Harvard Avenue sides of the project had been covered with anti-gay messages and threats to burn the place down.
LGBTQ Senior Housing President Aileen Mansour and Van Ness in front of a spelling-challenged sign:
Van Ness said she and other LGBTQ Senior Housing officials decided to leave the messages up to show people why a LGBTQ senior apartments are so needed, for people who have been putting up with this sort of thing their entire lives and deserve some peace.
Three elected officials from Hyde Park - City Councilors Ricardo Arroyo and Ruthzee Louijeune and state Rep. Rob Consalvo - said an attack on the Pryde is an attack on all of Hyde Park, which they said has supported the project to turn an abandoned middle school into 74 apartments since it was first proposed some seven years ago.
Arroyo had a simple message for the scrawler or scrawlers: "You failed. We will build this." And he told LGBTQ people in the vigil, "You are loved. You are seen. We are together, we are united in that."
"None of us are free until we all are free," Louijeune said, adding Hyde Park and the entire city will see the project through. She quoted David Ortiz: "This is our f'en city!"
Van Ness and Louijeune:
"When the first people move in, we're going to have people chearing them on," City Councilor Erin Murphy said.
Consalvo said the turnout showed "what's so fantastic about Hyde Park" and that "we will continue to stand with you today, tomorrow and always."
Consalvo, Mejia and Arroyo:
Also attending the vigil: City Councilor Kendra Lara, state Reps. Nika Elugardo (Jamaica Plain), Liz Miranda (Roxbury) and Tammy Gouveia (Action).
Design-challenged message before:
Design-challenged message as Mayor Wu and Councilors Murphy and Mejia cover it over:
Another sign gets covered: