HOLYOKE — Two Latino candidates for elected office are speaking out after racist messages were found written on the back of their campaign signs at a busy city intersection.
Israel Rivera, who is running for an at-large City Council seat, and Joshua Garcia, a mayoral candidate, came forward earlier this week to decry the vandalized signs, which were discovered a week before. In interviews, both candidates said they debated whether to draw attention to the incident. Ultimately, they said they decided to publicly condemn the racism directed at them and their communities.
“Whether you live in west Holyoke or south Holyoke, the person who wrote that is talking about our neighbors and our city,” Garcia said. “And what we really need to do is connect as neighbors and as a community and stand by our neighbors and tell the world we’re not going to stand for that.”
Rivera said initially he didn’t want to give the racist messages any extra attention, but he also didn’t want to sweep the incident under the rug.