Message of Peace Hung at Town Common After Swastika Found

The Salem, Massachusetts, town common was once again targeted, but this time, instead a message of hate, it was a message of love.

Hearts and a banner reading "Shalom Salem" were hung up overnight Monday.

Over the weekend, a swastika was painted on there.

"You didn't see people coming out adding swastikas there. They put hearts there because there's a lot more love in the world than there is hate," said Cindy Shapiro, who stopped to admire the new decorations.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said that police are currently reviewing surveillance cameras to determine who is responsible for drawing the swastika, which has since been removed.

"It does look like it may have involved a group during school vacation week," Driscoll said. "So we're trying to figure out was it an organized trip. They're doing a lot of work to narrow down who might be responsible."

Driscoll said she isn't sure if this was just an isolated incident, or if it might be related to similar occurrences in other Massachusetts cities.

New data shows that the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in Massachusetts soared last year when compared to the prior year.

"In Salem, we strive to be a welcoming and inclusive city, and in the wake of this incident, we will continue our work with our community partners like Salem's No Place for Hate Committee, the ADL, and others to continually educate, advocate and work toward that goal," Driscoll said.

Those who decorated the bandstand wish to remain anonymous, but would like everyone to know the name "Salem" comes from the world "Shalom," which is Hebrew for "peace."

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