CAMBRIDGE – After a series of shootings last weekend in close proximity to the City of Boston’s annual Caribbean Carnival which resulted in one fatality, officials from the City of Cambridge have cancelled this year’s annual Cambridge Carnival.
Cambridge officials and carnival organizers released a joint statement Thursday regarding the cancellation of the event that was planned for September 8th.
“Based on the recommendation of Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard, Jr., and the Cambridge Carnival Committee, the City Manager Louis A. DePasquale have agreed [to] cancel this year’s Cambridge Carnival,” read the statement. “For the past 26 years, the Cambridge Carnival has been an important cultural event for the City of Cambridge and the greater region. However, there have been increasing safety concerns associated with this year’s event due in part to the gun violence that occurred last weekend in the immediate vicinity of Boston’s Caribbean Carnival Parade.”
“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 shootings last weekend occurred in direct proximity to the J’ouvert Parade, scheduled to begin in the Blue Hills section of Dorchester. Police arrested Atunbi Bryan, 27, of Brockton and Michael Warner, 34, of Hyde Park, early Saturday morning after both suspects reportedly exchanged gunfire at one another on Talbot Avenue in plain view of officers. Both were arraigned in Dorchester Court on multiple charges including unlawful possession of a firearm and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.
The arrests followed an overnight shooting on Westview Street which resulted in the death of Jared Brown, 24, of Mattapan. While it is unclear if the shootings are related, anyone with information regarding Brown’s shooting is urged to contact Boston Police Homicide Detectives at (617) 343-4470. An investigation is ongoing.
Not everyone—including city officials—is in agreement with the cancellation.
“Cambridge sending the wrong msg to the region,” tweeted Boston City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu. “Boston's Carnival was a beautiful tribute to community! Celebrations of culture & unity help build joyful, peaceful neighborhoods. Abrupt notice = devastating & costly for bands who’ve been prepping for a yr.”
“As a proud immigrant from a #Caribbean nation, I am severely disappointed,” posted Cambridge City Councillor Quinton Zondervan. “This long-running tradition and celebration continues to be treated as an unwelcome imposition rather than as an institution that deserves protection and continuity.” Added Zondervan, "But “straight pride” will still happen this weekend, right?"
Organizers of the Cambridge International Carnival have indicated they are currently taking into consideration alternative activities focusing on Cambridge’s heritage for later on in the fall “We will feature food, art and culture, and present the Mayor’s Spirit of Carnival Awards,” stated the committee. “Details about this fall celebration is forthcoming.”