The attempted lynching of a biracial eight-year-old in Claremont, New Hampshire took place on Aug. 28, 2017. This event brought tears, shock, and awareness to all ages in both New Hampshire and the nation.
The young boy, who must stay anonymous, was playing with his 11-year-old sister and a group of white teenagers who began to torment him by throwing sticks and rocks at his legs while insulting him with racial slurs.
The teens’ teasing escalated when they decided to wrap a rope around the boy’s neck, kick him off a picnic table, and attempt to hang him.
The eight year-old was able to free himself by swinging around and escaped with bloody cuts and rope burns on his neck.
He was rushed to a Dartmouth hospital to be treated after his sister was traumatized of witnessing the incident and alerted their mother. He sustained minor injuries on his swollen neck.
His mother, Cassandra Merlin, is not letting the boy go outside without her supervision after his near-death experience, and is waiting for his whole family to overcome the trauma.
On Sept. 12, Claremont citizens showed their love and support for the young boy and his family. More than 100 people gathered in a Claremont park to pray and sing “We Shall Overcome” together as a way to unite the city and provoke conversations about race relations in their community.
Many Claremont citizens believe that this act should be enforced and not discharged, such as local activist, Olivia Lapierre, according to Newsweek.
“Law enforcement and public officials need to acknowledge this as a hate crime,” Lapierre said. “How can people of color feel safe living here if law enforcement is not acknowledging the lynching of an eightyear-old as a hate crime?”
Although Lapierre feels strongly of this act, the eight year-old’s youthful nature is allowing him to try and let go of the teens’ actions. According to the boy’s grandmother, Lorrie Slattery, he does not want to believe they wanted to hurt him.
This event affects Claremont and the rest of the nation as awareness is brought to racial crimes and enforcing peace rather than negative actions; racism is still an issue today, and it must be tended to immediately.