SUMMIT, NJ - On Wednesday night, a community gathered to commemorate the life of Summit resident Abelino Mazariego who was brutally murdered last week while sitting in the Promenade in downtown Summit.
Downtown Summit was especially quiet last evening, considering the thousand or so people that had congregated in back of City Hall. Race, age and class were dispersed through the crowd as the mass moved down Springfield Avenue. Only tidbits of some conversations could be heard when people passed: tales of Mazariego's life, the family he left behind, details of his unforeseen death and, above all, the phrase "never again."
"Tonight I believe we're sending a message of solidarity," Summit resident John Alston said. "Thousands of diverse people have come out and come together to show we aren't going to tolerate this violence from anyone."
Mazariego, 47, was beaten to death by three teenaged boys on Saturday, July 17 as he sat on a park bench in the downtown Summit Promenade. Although the incident is still under investigation police believe the attack was unprovoked.
"I wanted to hold a community service because I think it's the first step in terms of healing," Mayor Jordan Glatt said.
Residents met in the parking lot of City Hall to begin the service. Attendees then walked to the Summit Promenade to place a flower on the bench where Mazariego was murdered. A sermon followed -- a member from every house of worship in Summit spoke.
"I wanted it to be as inclusive as possible," Glatt said. "The facts are that we have a family who immigrated here and I wanted them to know the community stands behind them and feels their loss. Tonight I'm amazed at the turnout. I don't think there is a flower left in Summit."
Summit resident Margory Ashman held a flower as she walked to the Promenade with her son Trevor. A large white ribbon was pinned to her shirt that read in red cursive, "violence ends when love begins".
"I came tonight to show my support for the Mazariego family," Ashman said. "I think most people are here because the community cares. What happened is so shocking and upsetting. I think a lot of people in Summit are immune to what goes on in the real world. For something so cruel and horrible to happen here in Summit, now we are faced with it."