Annual Rally/March Commemorates Sacco and Vanzetti Trial; Supports Tarek Mehanna

by Ana Traynin ( OpenMedia.org Staff), Aug-24-10

BOSTON/North End ? Despite steady rain, approximately 40 people came out Sunday afternoon to the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration?s Society 5th annual rally and march to commemorate the 83rd anniversary of the 1927 executions of Italian immigrant anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.

The rally began in Copley Square and included a speech by labor and immigrant rights activist Sergio Reyes, as well as performances of songs about various political struggles. An hour into the rally, flanked by Boston police officers, the group began a march through the streets of Boston to the North End?s Paul Revere Mall. Participants held anarchist banners, waved black and red flags and played commemorative music from a cart. Reyes remained in front with a bullhorn, periodically shouting ?Sacco and Vanzetti? with the crowd responding ?Presente!?

This year, commemoration organizers compared the Sacco and Vanzetti case to the recent Tarek Mehanna case, in which a prominent member of the local Muslim community has been allegedly framed by the FBI for refusing to become an informant. They cited similar anti-immigrant and anti-radical atmospheres in both cases.

At the North End rally, Laila Murad, a member of the Tarek Mehanna Defense Committee, spoke about Mehanna?s particular situation.

?Since 9/11, the FBI has targeted and questioned almost every single Muslim community across the country,? Murad read from a statement. ?In the past year alone, hundreds of Muslims have been swept up and are facing terror charges. I?m here today to speak on the case of one of these Muslim brothers. Tarek Mehanna is a Muslim man who?s been arrested by the FBI on false charges and is now being held in solitary confinement.?

Murad went on to lament the absence of a movement on Mehanna?s behalf.

?Like the case of Sacco and Vanzetti, this is the case of a man who is beloved and respected in his community. This is the case of a man who was targeted, discriminate against and framed, but today, unlike the days of Sacco and Vanzetti, we do not see anything close to the international outcry and movement to free our political prisoners.?

Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner made his customary appearance in the North End and read a resolution by the council that officially recognized August 23, 2010 as ?Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Day.?

Referencing a banner held by members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Turner reminded the crowd that ?an injury to one is an injury to all.?

Jake Carman, BAAM member and cofounder of the Commemoration Society, performed music with another member of his local group, Jake and the Infernal Machine. He later highlighted the importance of the two executed men?s anarchist principles.

Labor activist Pasqualino Colombaro read a text about the memory of Sacco and Vanzetti in Boston.

Richard Navin, a march participant, talked about his belief in the importance of commemorating Sacco and Vanzetti.

?As it is an old case, it?s important to be able to commemorate that as part of Boston?s history because it?s under-represented,? Navin said. ?It?s a big ?oops? for the government and the whole judicial system. Primarily this represents three issues for me: first, immigration, worker?s struggle and the prejudice against radicals.?

Reyes commented on his views for the future of pushing the case?s message.

?I think that we are making progress, trying to make people understand the great injustice committed in the case of Sacco and Vanzetti,? Reyes said. ?This is not just our own work, this is the work of many people. Even liberals like Michael Dukakis himself, we have to give him some credit for what he did. My concern is: what is the point between people understanding and people changing the way that things are done? We have to continue to represent a strong message.?