Monument in the North End against intolerance, prejudice and hatred

by Sergio Reyes

In 1977 former Gov. Michael Dukakis passed the following resolution: "Therefore, I, Michael S. Dukakis, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts hereby proclaim Tuesday, August 23, 1977, "NICOLA SACCO AND BARTOLOMEO VANZETTI MEMORIAL DAY"; and declare, further, that any stigma and disgrace should be forever removed from the names of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, from the names of their families and descendants, and so call upon all the people of Massachusetts to pause in their daily endeavors to reflect upon these tragic events, and draw from their historic lessons the resolve to prevent the forces of intolerance, fear, and hatred from ever again uniting to overcome the rationality, wisdom, and fairness to which our legal system aspires."

Such proclamation contrasts with the Metro Boston Edition of December 6, 2010 that on its front page includes the headlines: "North End memorial to murder? - Group trying to erect a plaque to two men convicted in the '20s. - Sacco and Venzetti (sp) case is infamous". Then on the full page of a small article the reporter, Justin Rice, continues the stereotypes via a sub-heading: "- Group of anarchists trying to memorialize convicted killers in the North End".

The facts are that Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti indeed where convicted for the killing of Parmenter and Berardelli in a robbery in Braintree, but then and now virtually the entire world doubted that they were the real killers in the case. Historical consensus indicates that instead they were executed because they were anarchists and Italian immigrants. Prejudice and judicial manipulation were in the end their executioners.

Thank goodness, unlike the Metro's prejudice, the Boston City Council has been passing since 2007 a yearly resolution stating "That the Boston City Council does hereby extend its admiration and congratulations to the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society, and in honor of its many contributions, does hereby declare August 23, Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Day".

A memorial monument to Sacco and Vanzetti in the North End would contribute to learn from a dark moment in our history and hopefully come to the conclusion that prejudice and hatred are wrong.