‘That is what we face’: Worcester metropolis councilor says her house was vandalized


Etel Haxhiaj stated somebody threw a baseball at her house, and that her political garden indicators had been vandalized.

Political garden indicators within the yard of Worcester District 5 Metropolis Councilor Etel Haxhiaj had been allegedly vandalized Friday night. Etel Haxhiaj

A progressive Worcester metropolis councilor says her house was vandalized Friday night when a baseball was thrown at her home and her political garden indicators had been thrown about her yard.

District 5 Councilor Etel Haxhiaj says the incident is simply one other instance of the “fixed harassment” she has been dealing with for years.

Haxhiaj described the incident in a Fb submit on Friday.

“Whereas I used to be having dinner tonight, somebody violently threw a baseball at my home, making an attempt to interrupt the window in my lounge. After we went out, we discovered all my garden indicators thrown on the grass,” she wrote.

Worcester District 5 Metropolis Councilor Etel Haxhiaj says her house was vandalized Friday night.

Haxhiaj posted an image of the garden indicators on social media, exhibiting indicators for a number of completely different candidates strewn in regards to the grass. “That is what we face,” she wrote.

The town councilor stated Sunday evening that she and her associate felt a robust vibration undergo the home, as if a rock had hit the porch. Once they went exterior to research, they didn’t see anybody however discovered the baseball beneath the porch.

Haxhiaj wrote on social media that she alerted the town supervisor and police to the incident, and that the latter is investigating. Worcester police didn’t reply to a request for touch upon the incident Sunday evening.

Neither the town councilor nor her neighbors have safety cameras, so there’s no video footage of the incident, Haxhiaj stated. There didn’t appear to be any injury to her home, she stated.

The Boston Globe reported that one other Worcester metropolis councilor, Republican Donna Colorio, just lately stated she had eggs thrown at her automotive and somebody wrote “racist” on one in every of her political indicators within the metropolis.

‘Fixed harassment’ towards Haxhiaj

On Fb, Haxhiaj stated she’s felt “more and more unsafe.” She stated she’s confronted “fixed harassment” since she started working for workplace, however that it’s elevated in the previous couple of months.

One instance the town councilor gave was an incident earlier this month throughout which, she says, a person stepped out from a gaggle of individuals campaigning for a Worcester College Committee candidate to movie her in entrance of her home.

“This violent political focusing on is an indication of concern. Worry that seeks to intimidate,” she wrote on Fb. “I’ve needed to have discussions with my youngsters about security, too. None of us, no matter the place we stand in our beliefs, deserve this.”

In accordance with the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Haxhiaj is the town’s first Albanian-born and Muslim councilor. The newspaper describes her as being “outspoken in her progressive politics.” She’s additionally been open about residing undocumented in Greece as a teen.

Haxhiaj says her politics and background have triggered her to face backlash and harassment on-line.

Earlier this summer time, the Worcester Telegram reported, a former District 5 metropolis councilor used Fb to unfold false rumors that Haxhiaj had obtained a donation from a relative of a person convicted of killing a police officer.

Moreover, no less than one conservative Worcester Fb web page continuously makes destructive posts in regards to the metropolis councilor, and Haxhiaj stated on-line commenters continuously name for her to launch her naturalization papers.

“There’s simply been a theme and a present, a torrent, of hate-filled rhetoric that has simply been nonstop, and I imagine this has contributed and culminated in [Friday’s] incident,” she stated.

Haxhiaj stated she’s grateful for the assist she’s obtained from her group within the wake of the incident. She stated she posted about it as a result of she wished to shine a lightweight on the type of harassment minority politicians can face.

“I don’t really feel that I’m alone. I’m not totally positive why the depth has been so rabid in my case, but it surely’s felt very personally triggering,” she stated. “I left my nation due to social and political upheaval. I grew up in an authoritarian regime the place people suffered on account of talking their reality.”

Operating for reelection

Haxhiaj, who’s been vocal on points resembling ending homeless encampment sweeps and taking motion on local weather change, is within the strategy of working for a second time period because the District 5 metropolis councilor. Her district contains the westernmost elements of Worcester.

The town councilor completed the preliminary election earlier this month because the frontrunner by a major margin, garnering over 54% of the vote. In November, she’s going to face three-time world boxing champion Jose Antonio Rivera, who got here in second place with almost 39% of the vote.

On Saturday, Rivera denounced the vandalism incident on Fb.

“The cowardly act focusing on Etel Haxhiaj represents the worst of human nature. The sort of habits has no place in Worcester and positively not throughout a political marketing campaign,” he wrote. “I provide my assist to Councilor Haxhiaj and the strongest rejection of any kind of violence, harassment and intimidation of any candidate for workplace. Worcester is healthier than this.”