A long-running Caribbean carnival scheduled to take place next month in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was abruptly cancelled after organizers say they were informed of a violent threat specific to the event.
Organizers of the Cambridge Carnival International and city officials said in a joint statement that the Sept. 8 event was also called off due in part to the gun violence that erupted near Boston's Caribbean Carnival Parade last weekend.
“Police say reliable intelligence showed that a gang was planning to use our event as a venue to stage a retaliatory act of gun violence,” head organizer Nicola Williams said. “We know people are disappointed, but I don’t think we really had much of a choice.”
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"The safety of the Cambridge community and those planning to participate in this event or any Cambridge event is paramount and will always serve as the highest priority as it pertains to making difficult decisions like this," the statement said.
Those who planned to work the event said the last-minute announcement was a huge disappointment.
“I am losing out financially,” said Radiant Jasmin, who does face painting at the event every year.
Jasmin and others disagree with the decision to cancel it.
“We can’t let people that are senseless, that have senseless violence stop us from having fun,” she said.
Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan said he was blindsided by this year's decision, and wishes the city would step up to protect the tradition.
“We should invest in violence prevention and public safety to make sure we can have events like this without people getting hurt,” Zondervan said.
As a result of its cancellation this year, the committee is looking into organizing other events for this fall.