The community prayer vigil was planned more than a month ago to mark the anniversary of the racially motivated murder of two Cape Verdean residents by accused gunman Keith Luke. But the event took on new significance Thursday morning with the murder of two Brockton residents in the city’s Nilsson neighborhood.
About 100 people, including Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti, gathered Thursday night at the Cape Verdean Association to pray and show support for families who lost loved ones to violence.
The community prayer vigil was planned more than a month ago to mark the anniversary of the racially motivated slayings of two Cape Verdean residents by accused gunman Keith Luke. But the event took on new significance Thursday morning with the murder of two Brockton residents in the city’s Nilsson neighborhood.
“The mission wasn’t necessarily to talk about the issues of racism, but to come together and show solidarity with the families of the victims,” said Jose Monteiro, spokesman for the Cape Verdean Task Force of Brockton.
Monteiro stressed that such violence affects the entire city.
“It is a community issue. We all share pain and the same suffering,” he said.
The gathering started at the association headquarters on Montello Street. Bishop Filipe Teixeira of St. Martin De Porres in Brockton led the congregants, each of whom held a small candle, in a short prayer, a plea for peace and a recitation of The Lord’s Prayer.
The group then marched down the street to St. Edith Stein Parish, where at least another 100 people joined for an evening prayer service.
“I’ve been working with youth, with youth violence, since 1991, and as I get older, it gives me a headache. It stresses me out,” Teixeira said.
But he said he does see signs of hope — like cooperation from the city and that so many people came out on a January night to pray and work for peace.
“It shows that people are fed up. We won’t accept this any longer,” Teixeira said. “Something is going to happen. Something good for Brockton.”
Erik Potter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.