Lantigua also shut down communication with the city’s Anglo communities, refusing to speak to reporters from English-speaking news organizations, often speaking only Spanish at public events with mixed audiences and skipping neighborhood association meetings in the mostly Anglo communities of South Lawrence.
Rivera was critical of the practice and promised to bridge the racial divide he said Lantigua created. On Monday, an hour after Lantigua’s concession on La Mega AM 1440 AM radio station, he changed the cover photo atop his Facebook page to one showing the bridges connecting North and South Lawrence over the Merrimack River, offering a graphic reinforcement of a promise he repeated often in his 10-month campaign to unite the city’s mostly Latino north side with its mostly Anglo south side.
The message rang with residents.
“I think he’ll do well,” said Sarah Alveraz, 63, a volunteer at a local social service agency, said about the mayor-elect. “I know the Anglos are behind him. Also the Spanish people.”
“Danny so far — he’s a really positive role model,” said Rayza Carrasco, and 18-year-old senior at Notre Dame High School. “I like that someone who’s involved in the community, is involved in our community, is our new mayor.”
Across Essex Street at the JRT Factory Outlet, also known as Rafa’s Store, counter clerk Miguel Antigua, 49, said Lantigua’s support still runs deep in Dominican Republic, where Lantigua was born and returns often. He said Lantigua’s election four years ago was viewed back home as “a grand opportunity for the Spanish community” in the United States.
“I never heard about his troubles — just here, when I came,” said Antigua, who returned to Lawrence last month after a few years in Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic. “(Rivera) is a nice guy. He’s another Spanish guy with another Spanish opportunity.”