“Words have consequences, and hateful words have hateful consequences." Janet Murguía
Washington, DC—The brutal murder of Marcelo Lucero, a Suffolk County, Long Island man of Ecuadoran descent, brought seven national civil rights organizations together today to denounce the recent wave of brutal hate crimes against communities of color.
Representatives from the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the National Urban League,the NAACP and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) decried the recent spike in hate crimes both during and after the election.
“In the wake of an election that sends a message to the world about freedom, it seems incongruous to raise the specter of hate in America,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. “Hate did not win the election, but it has certainly reared its head in local communities across the country.”
The group cited FBI statistics that show hate crimes against Latinos and Asian Americans rising steadily over the past four years and a Southern Poverty Law Center report that details hundreds of incidents of hate crimes, vandalism, and threats committed since Election Day. This includes the election-night assault of Alie Kamara on Staten Island by two teenagers who shouted racial epithets and “Obama!” as they beat him.
“Hate crimes such as these must be investigated and prosecuted fully at the local and federal levels,” stated John Trasviña, MALDEF President and General Counsel.
The civil rights groups faulted a “climate of hate” surrounding the immigration debate of recent years and the national election which has been fostered over the airwaves and echoed in political discourse.
“For two years we have urged politicians and members of the media to show some restraint in perpetuating the damaging rhetoric that demonizes our communities,” said Murguía. “Suffolk County mirrors the experience of many communities where hate, fostered on a national scale, has found a new home.”
“Certainly, President-elect Obama’s election speaks volumes about how far we’ve come as a nation; but, make no mistake, it signifies hope, not a final victory over prejudice and racial hostility, ” said Wade Henderson, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.
“Words have consequences, and hateful words have hateful consequences. Mr. Lucero's death is a direct consequence of the anger and hate spurred on by media outlets that mischaracterize all Latinos and the institutions that serve them as a threat to our country,” said Murguía.
"There is a direct connection between the tenor of the political debate and the daily lives of immigrants in our communities. It is no accident that, as the immigration debate has demonized immigrants as "invaders" who poison our communities with disease and criminality, haters have taken matters into their own hands and hate crimes against Latinos are on the rise for the fourth consecutive," said Michael Lieberman, Washington Counsel, Anti-Defamation League.
These seven organizations are committed to working together to monitor incidents of hate crimes and hate rhetoric, to urge Congress to pass the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act and the media to cease resorting to bias and bigotry, and to increase tolerance and understanding among all communities.
To learn more about the code words of hate and what your community can do to combat hate speech, visit www.WeCanStopTheHate.org.
When I first journeyed to Suffolk Country eight years ago to work with religious, civic, and immigrant rights groups facing growing anti-immigrant activity stoked by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, I was stunned to witness the depth of anger and hostility that the group’s organizer had helped unleash. It all started “respectably” enough. But the attempt in 2000 by neo-Nazis to kill two Mexican workers was a harbinger of where growing, unchecked anti-immigrant fever and fervor could go; other violence followed. Now, an Ecuadoran immigrant, is dead at the hands of area youth who reportedly set out to beat up “some Mexicans,” bringing the tragedy of Suffolk County to its inevitable end.
In those early days Newsday tagged Suffolk County “ground zero” of a growing anti-immigrant movement. It was indeed. And now the harvest is in.
The arrival of the body of Marcelo Lucero in Ecuador.
Marcelo's funeral in his hometown of Gualaceo.
Ms. Gutierrez captures the dignity, faith and sorrow of the people of Gualaceo in mourning.
It was a diverse crowd, young and old, Latino and nonLatino. They came from the Latino precincts of the Patchogue area, as well as from communities across the length of Long Island, including Astoria, Jackson Heights, Sunset Park, Corona, Elmont, Hempstead, Long Beach, Glen Cove, Freeport, Amityville, Huntington, Brentwood, Central Islip, Southampton, Montauk. Some travelled from New Jersey and points further west.
The bulk of those assembled though were Latino immigrants -- most Ecuadorianos.
The vigil was held at the very site of Marcello's murder, on a street along side the Patchogue commuter rail station. It's the back and poorly lit side of the rail station, so one can easily see why the thugs would chose to do their evil work there.
Under a steady drizzle one mourner called 'tears from heaven', the vigil included prayers, chants, speeches and songs offered in Spanish, English and sometimes in both. Many in the audience held flickering candles. Many held home-made signs protesting Marcello's murder or demanding an end to hate. A lit shrine with a large photo of Marcello, religious artifacts, messages and flowers drew a wall of bereaved a hundred deep.
Especially touching was that a two other vigils were held simultaneously last night: One in Marcello's hometown in Ecuador and another in Nanuet, New York. The proceedings in Patchogue were heard by Marcello's mother via cellphone.
People speaking from the podium included a number of politicians:
- State Senator (and Majority Leader to be) Malcolm Smith of Queens who promised to use the full weight of the state to protect New York's immigrant communities.
- Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri who spoke about his family's own immigrant origins in a small town in Italy and how the death of Marcello has wounded the community he loves and has lived in all of his life.
- Assemblyman Phil Ramos condemned the murder of Marcello and the pattern of anti-Latino immigrant violence that has been a shameful part of Suffolk life. He spoke about his experience as a former Suffolk police officer in which he responded to several horrific acts of racist violence against Latino Immigrants.
There were labor leaders who rallied the crowd with chants of 'Justicia', 'Yes, We Can!' and 'Un Pueblo Unido No Puede Ser Vencido!'.
A number of Latin American nations sent their representatives, including Ecuador's Ambassador to the United Nations, embassy officials from Venezuela, El Salvador and others.
There were religious leaders including the Imam of Long Island's Muslim community who offered prayers and solidarity.
Marcello's younger brother spoke again about the need to stop the violence against immigrants who he described as good people, hardworking people.
Latino and immigrant leaders addressed the mourners, including Dr. Luis Valenzuela who called for Suffolk County politicians to stop bashing immigrants. Another noted that Lucero means 'bright star' in Spanish and that Marcello was shining a light towards a better place from his perch in heaven.
Finally, one very animated speaker--whose name and role I didn't get--opened his comments with 'good morning' even though it was night. It wasn't a mistake. His point was that Long Island's Latino community has been asleep for too long, reluctant to stand up for itself. But that last night's large turn out was a sign to him that the community has awakened.
Photos: Gerry Vazquez
Last week, MediaMatters for America released a roundup of smears conservative radio hosts used to foment hate and distrust among their listeners for President-elect Obama. As a follow up, they put together a collection of items illustrating that these hosts did not save their ire for Obama. Immigrants, female politicians (and women in general,) the LGBT community, the poor and homeless, minorities, progressives, unions, college students, and even autistic children were targets for these radio personalities.
Do you know what's on your radio? Here's an example:
1) G. Gordon Liddy smeared undocumented Mexican immigrants, claiming they "want to reconquer America, they say"
2) Jim Quinn, Lee Rodgers: Conservative radio hosts claimed HUD said 5 million illegal immigrants were given subprime mortgages, despite HUD's reported denials
3) Savage: "Illegal aliens" have "raped and disheveled" the Statue of Liberty
4) Savage: "We're getting refugees now who have never used a telephone, a toothbrush, or toilet paper. ... [T]hey never assimilate. And then their children become gang-bangers"
5) Savage: "Bring in 10 million more from Africa. ... They can't reason, but bring them in with a machete in their head"
6) Savage on Muslim immigrants: 15th-century "throwbacks, some of whom are no doubt terrorists, and some of whom are gonna produce children who will become terrorists"
7) Chris Baker called Obama a "little bitch" who "won't even stand up to" "smoking-hot" Palin
8) Baker on Palin's appearance at VP debate: "Shoulda had a little cleavage going ... I noticed a panty line on her"
9) Baker: "I don't think homeless people should vote"; "I'm not that excited about women voting"
10) Minneapolis radio host said Code Pink protesters "ought to have all their tubes tied"
11) Mark Belling: "When you think of Hillary Clinton," the word "bitches" comes to mind
12) Belling called Gloria Steinem a "grizzled old bag," "old witch"
13) On Jon Caldara's KOA show, Coulter claimed women's suffrage "explains the destruction of America"
14) Jon Caldara asked Coulter if Clinton was "bitch-slapped" in debate
15) Bill Cunningham on Democratic women: "[A] lot of women who are single are vulnerable; they need like a daddy government to keep an eye on them"
16) Mark Levin on his "National Organization of Ugly Women" remark: "[F]or now on, it's the National Organization of Really Ugly Women"
17) Jim Quinn called NOW the "National Organization for Whores," said columnist Fatimah Ali should "get an American name"
18) Jim Quinn: "[T]he goal of the public school system -- the feminists in the public school system -- is to make male behavior illegal"
19) Jim Quinn: Steinem opposes Palin because Palin "declined to slaughter her own unborn child, Trig, to the goddess of feminism"
20) Quinn: To feminists, even "a childless feminist who looks like a Bulgarian weightlifter in drag" can be a "real woman"
21) Quinn introduced segment about Hillary Clinton by playing Elton John's "The Bitch Is Back"
22) KSFO's Lee Rodgers said many "professed leaders of the feminist movement" are "hags" who "couldn't get laid in a men's prison"
23) KSFO's Rodgers: "[P]uckered-butt Democrat women hate Sarah Palin ... because her idea of choice was choosing not to have an abortion"
24) KSFO's Rodgers: "[F]emale leadership of the Democratic Party" consists of "ugly skanks" who "hate" that "Sarah Palin's good-looking"
25) KSFO's Rodgers: "With that screechy, fingernails-on-the-blackboard voice of hers, it is impossible for Hillary Clinton to deliver a great speech"
26) KSFO's Rodgers on voting gender gap: For "a lot of women in this country who get knocked up ... the government becomes Daddy in terms of paying the bills"
27) On Jon Caldara program, Coulter called John Edwards "the very definition of faggy"
28) KHOW's Dan Caplis again asserted that gay "conduct is not natural" and is "immoral"
29) KOA's "Gunny" Bob Newman repeated concern that "crushing tyranny of the left" could "lead to legal human-animal marriage"
30) Michael Savage: "If you're insane, hate the family ... hate your mother and father, hate the Bible, hate the church, and hate the synagogue," you oppose CA gay marriage ban
31) After railing against gay marriage, Savage said "the spiritual side of the downturn on Wall Street was directly related to the moral downturn"
32) Savage linked San Francisco event to the "artistes" and "leather fetishists" of Weimar-era Germany, whom he blamed for Hitler's rise
33) Savage: "The children's minds are being raped by the homosexual mafia"
34) KSFO's Brian Sussman invited guest to talk about his claim that "gay and lesbian radicals actively recruit through our schools and the media"
35) Jim Quinn: "Gay sex produces AIDS"; "They should charge homosexuals more for their ... health insurance"
36) Neil Boortz: "Muslims, making tortillas? ... [W]ith all of the illegal Mexicans in this country, we can't find some Mexicans to make those tortillas?"
37) Boortz's commentary on his inability to use a floor buffer: "I would make a lousy Mexican"
38) Bill Cunningham on Obama Sr.: "That's what black fathers do. They simply leave"
39) Bill Cnningham guest Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson: "[M]ost black people today are racist"
40) Cunningham: "I think there will be 100 cities burning if Barack loses. Yeah, that's what the black intelligentsia says"
41) In sketch on Corsi's detention in Kenya, Liddy played audio of "jungle telegraph drums"
42) Quinn and Tennent: Powell endorsed Obama because "he's tired of being called an Oreo," "an Uncle Tom"
43) Lee Rodgers suggested that just as the O.J. Simpson verdict "was a racial vote," African-Americans support Obama because of "racial brotherhood"
44) Michael Savage on Obama: "America's first affirmative action candidate about to become president"
45) Savage: "Kenya is going to move to America if Barack Hussein Obama wins"
46) Baker: "I don't think homeless people should vote"; "I'm not that excited about women voting"
47) Boortz: "Single mothers receiving public assistance" are "welfare broodmares"
48) Boortz again referred to victims of Hurricane Katrina as "parasite[s]"
49) Boortz: "[P]rimary blame" for Katrina goes to "worthless parasites who lived in New Orleans"
50) Cunningham: "[P]eople are poor in America ... because they lack values, morals, and ethics"
51) Cunningham: America's "so-called noble poor" don't use birth control so that "the mom can get more checks in the mail from the government"
52) Liddy: Obama is relying, in part, on "the welfare class" to win Pennsylvania
53) Quinn stated that unlike welfare recipients, slaves "had to work" for food, housing
54) Responding to Media Matters item, Quinn defended comparison of welfare recipients to slaves
55) Rose Tennent on Obama ad: "[D]on't put that jive out there in front of me, devil, and tell me that these people are hurting when they are not hurting"
56) Quinn: "Originally, if you didn't have land, you didn't vote, and there was a good reason for it"
57) Savage: "Why should a welfare recipient have the right to vote? They're only gonna vote themselves a raise"
58) Savage's answer to homelessness: "Why not put them in work camps?"
59) Minneapolis radio hosts Chris Baker and Perry are "convinced" that Magic Johnson "faked AIDS"
60) Baker: Media Matters "can kiss my supple buttocks"
61) Belling smeared "greedy, overpaid unionized schoolteacher[s]" who talk about global warming
62) Boortz: Teachers unions "do more damage to this country than all the drug pushers together"
63) Boortz again referred to victims of Hurricane Katrina as "parasite[s]"
64) Levin attacks "Jon Leibowitz, a.k.a Jon Stewart": "I'm really tired of these phony intellectuals ... arrogantly looking down their sizable noses at our armed forces"
65) "Gunny" Bob Newman's suggestions for replacing Air America's Rhodes included Obama, Stalin, bin Laden, Charles Manson
66) KSFO's "gentleman" Lee Rodgers lashes out at Media Matters
67) Discussing economic crisis and bailout plan, Michael Savage said Rep. Frank "should be in the gallows for this"
68) Savage: Democratic Party's "membership is made up largely of minority blocs ... that are all against the white person"
69) Savage reportedly likened Media Matters to HIV
70) Savage on Media Matters: "They have no place in America"
71) Savage on autism: "A fraud, a racket. ...In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out"
72) Savage referred to Pelosi as "Nancy Mussolini"
73) Savage plays Dead Kennedys song again after asserting he "is now being persecuted for refusing to take the party line" on Sen. Kennedy's illness
74) Savage: "I would round up every member of the ACLU and of the National Lawyers Guild and I'd put them in a prison in Guantánamo and I'd throw the key away"
75) Savage claimed Lantos used the Holocaust as "a weapon the rest of his life"
Steve Levy: Leaderless in Suffolk? - SpinCycle-Newsday 11/12/08
Levy must be bolder - HartfordCourant-Newsday 11/13/08
Mother mourns Patchogue stabbing victim - Newsday 11/13/08
Town Still Torn Over Immigrant Murder - CBS Evening News 11/13/08
Racial, sexual graffiti found on cars near Mastic homes - HartfordCourant 11/13/08
Hate Runs Wild: Race Woes Plague LI Nabe Where Teens Became 'Killers' - NYPost 11/13/08
Much Work Left To Do - Southampton Press 11/13/08
Residents Denounce Murder Of Immigrant, Protest "Anti-Latino" Bill - Guanabee 11/12/08
Levy walking fine line in reaction to immigrant death - Newsday 11/12/08
Speakers denounce attack on immigrant, urge tolerance - Newsday 11/12/08
Ku Klux Klan literature dropped at Islip Terrace homes - Newsday 11/12/08
Vigilia para Marcello Lucero: 14 de Noviembre - Intutive Intertexuality 11/12/08
Latinos Increasingly Targeted For Hate Crimes - NPR 11/12/08
Uncle Of Accused Patchogue Gang Member Fires Back - WCBSTV 11/13/08
Advocates say rhetoric fuels anti-Hispanic crime - Huffington Post 11/12/08
Editorial: Suffolk’s big mess - LI Business News 11/12/08
Hate Speech Has Consequences - It happened again, another Hispanic/Latino murdered, lynched? - El Rinconcito de Aurora 11/12/08
Patchogue stabbing victim's mother mourns - Newsday 11/12/08
An Island of racists? - LIBizBlog 11/12/08
Harvest of hatred - Impre.com 11/12/08
Levy remains under seige - LIBizBlog 11/12/08
Anti-Immigrant/Anti-Latino Hate Claims Another Vida: Marcello Lucero - VivirLatino 11/12/08
LI Lynch Mob Murders Ecudorian Immigrant Marcello Lucero - Gangbox: Construction Workers News Service 11/11/08
Hate Crime Against a Latino - iHispano 11/11/08
The following are headlines from November 9-11:
November 11, 2008
Levy on immigrant killing: Just a one-day story!!! - Newsday SpinCycle 11/11/08
Long Island 'lynch mob' killed our American Dream - Daily News 11/11/08
Patchogue police look into teens' history of bias crimes - LINews12 11/11/08
Hate Crime Murder In New York: "Let´s Beat Up Some Mexicans!" - Immigration Talk With A Mexican American 11/11/08
Marcello Lucero: They Targeted A Mexican: Pro-Migrant SanctuarySphere Citizen Orange 11/11/08
Le matan por ser hispano (English) - El Diario La Prensa 11/11/08
Ramirez: Levy has blood on his hands - LIBizBlog 11/11/08
7 Teens Stalked Mexicans - NYPost 11/11/08
'Parents Guilty of Murder' in Hispanic Man's Death - 1010WINS 11/11/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - 3News- New Zealand 11/11/08
Second L.I. Hispanic Resident Alleges Gang Attack - WCBSTV.com 11/11/08
Issues Of Race & Hatred Take Center Stage On L.I. - WCBSVC.com 11/11/08
Paterson decries killing of Ecuadorean man in Patchogue - Newdsay 11/11/08
7 teens face gang assault charges in hate-crime slaying - Newsday 11/11/08
Prosecutor: Teens 'determined' to hurt hate-crime victim - Newsday 11/11/08
Arrest in fatal stabbing jeopardizes teen's plea deal - Newsday 11/11/08
Hate crime victim wanted 'the American dream' - Newsday 11/11/08
Latino group may sue parents of hate crime suspects - Newsday 11/11/08
Slaying of N.Y. immigrant was a hate crime - Lincoln Daily News - Illinois 11/11/08
Immigrant Killed By Teens Because of Race - WNBC 11/11/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - International Herald 11/11/08
Immigrant...killed by NY gang - Hartford Courant 11/11/08
Rhetoric Fuels Anti-Hispanic Crime - WCBS NewsRadio 880 11/11/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - KansasCity.com 11/11/08
Teens arrested in fatal stabbing; hate crime alleged - CNN (11/11/08 updated)
7 L.I. Teens Charged In Racial Bias Killing - WCBSTV.com 11/11/08
Teen denies guilt in hate crime death - BuffaloNews 11/11/08
Teen Arrested in Stabbing on Suicide Watch - WALK97.5 Long Island 11/11/08
Defendants arraigned for fatal stabbing - EmpireStateNews 11/11/08
November 10, 2008
Hate doesn't happen in a vacuum - MigraMatters 11/10/08
Police: NY immigrant killed because of race - AMNewYork 11/10/08
Hispanos en Nueva York denuncian asesinato de ecuatoriano - DailyNews/Espanol 11/10/08
L.I. stab slay a hate crime; thugs hunted Hispanic victims - DailyNews 11/10/08
Long Island 'lynch mob' plead not guilty to murder - DailyNews 11/10/08
Teens Targeted Hispanics in Long Island Hate Killing - Damn Mexicans 11/10/08
Victim Was Targeted for his Race - NYPost 11/10/08
Man Dead in Hate Stab - NYPost 11/10/08
Teens in LI stabbing plead not guilty - WABC 11/10/08
Hate doesn't happen in a vacuum - The Sanctuary 11/10/08
As most feel Hope, Hate still lingers - Standing Firm 11/10/08
A Death in Patchogue - NYTimes 11/10/08
Hate Motivated Stabbing Of Hispanic In Patchogue - Long Island Press 11/10/08
NY state offers assist in bias-death case - WTEN - Albany 11/10/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - AP 11/10/08
7 White Teenagers in Gang Killing - FOXNews 11/10/08
Seven Suffolk Teens Charged In Stabbing Death - No Country Gazette (NY) 11/10/08
Hispanic attacked by white NY gang, dies - KAUZ - Witchita Falls, Texas 11/10/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - WTOPNews.com -Washington, DC 11/10/08
Hate crime victim wanted 'the American dream' - Baltimore Sun 11/10/08
Marcello Lucero Victim of Hate Crime in Long Island - Latina 11/10/08
Seven Teens Arrested for Patchogue Murder - WALK 97.5 11/10/08
Immigrant Killed Because of Race - WINS-AM New York 11/10/08
Teens Charged In Racially Motivated Attack - WPIX-TV NY 11/10/08
Seven Teens Accused In Hate Crime Stabbing - The Post Chronicle 11/10/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - Examiner - New York, NY 11/10/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - San Francisco Examiner 11/10/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - The State - Columbia, SC 11/10/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - Bismark Tribune 11/10/08
Teens Charged In Racially Motivated Attack - WPIX 11/10/08
Hispanic attacked by NY teens dies - WCAX-Vermont 11/10/08
Hispanic attacked by white NY gang, dies - WSVN-TV Miami Beach 11/10/08
Hispanic attacked by white gang, dies - Sioux City Journal - 11/10/08
Hispanic Man Killed In Possible Hate Crime - KKTV-Southern Colorado 11/10/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - YahooNews 11/10/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - Asheville Citizen-Times 11/10/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - SanLuisObispo-The Tribune 11/10/08
Hispanic Attacked By White NY Gang, Dies - 9&10News - Cadillac, MI 11/10/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - BayNews9 - Tampa, Fl. 11/10/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - Comcast 11/10/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - AustinAmericanStatesman 11/10/08
Another Hate Crime Against Immigrants in Long Island - DMIBlog 11/10/08
Hispanic attacked by white N.Y. teens dies - The News Times-Danbury 11/10/08
November 9, 2008
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - The Herald - Rock Hill, SC 11/9/08
7 Teens Arrested in Killing of Patchogue Man - MyFOX New York 11/09/08
Fatal stabbing of Patchogue man a hate crime - Newsday 11/9/08
Hispanic attacked by white New York gang dies - BostonHerald 11/09/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - The Island Packet - Hilton Head, SC 11/9/08
Slaying of NY immigrant was a hate crime - The Miami Herald 11/09/08
“Suffolk Police tell us that Mr. Lucero and a friend were attacked late Saturday night by seven teenagers who were driving around looking for a Hispanic to beat up. The companion walking with Mr. Lucero escaped, but Mr. Lucero was stabbed to death. This senseless and cowardly attack by these teenagers cannot stand. I am directing State law enforcement agencies to assist Suffolk County officials in any way possible to ensure swift and certain justice for this heinous crime. Our State has zero tolerance for such bigotry and I urge authorities to move quickly to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.
“Today, I ask that you offer your prayers to Mr. Lucero's family. I would like to extend my deepest condolences as they come to the terms with the enormous pain of this loss. Mr. Lucero's death is a jarring reminder that we must remain vigilant and continue our fight to eradicate prejudice in our words and in our actions.”
This disgraceful act should serve as a source of outrage for all of us.
Gov. David Patterson
Jeffrey Conroy, front, is led out of Suffolk County's 5th Precinct in Patchogue with six others charged in the bias gang killing of Marcelo Lucero.
After the gang pummelled their victim in their nighttime hunt to "jump beaners", it's believed Conroy fatally stabbed Lucero in the chest.
Fresh from reaching out to Latinos attending the Somos el Futuro Conference in Puerto Rico, Governor David A. Paterson issued this statement denouncing the murder:
"This disgraceful act should serve as a source of outrage for all of us." He also pledged to assist Suffolk County "in any way possible to ensure swift and certain justice for this heinous crime."
Take a close look at these photographs. This is what anti-Latino immigrant hate looks in America of today. What's really unfortunate is that the adults that have encouraged these young men to ruin their lives through hate and violence will pay no price.
WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE!!!
Top photo: Suffolk County, NY Killers of Marcelo Lucero
Bottom photo: Three of the Shenandoah, PA killers of Luis Eduardo Martinez
The Lucero killing follows an eerily similar incident this past July in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Another gang of young thugs murdered Luis Eduardo Martinez for the crime of being an Latino immigrant. Both incidents were preceded by a growing bias incidents spurred, in part, by the irresponsible rhetoric and actions of local politicians, hate radio and national nativist agitators.
To his credit Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy immediately issued this statement: "This heinous crime that led to the death of an individual because of his race will not be tolerated in Suffolk County,"
However, what's needed for Levy, Suffolk legislators, town leaders, clergy , educators, business leaders and parents to stand united in condemning the Lucero murder. Additionally, politicians must stop contributing to a hostile environment with irresponsible rhetoric and scapegoating measures.
Link: Cops: Fatal stabbing of Patchogue man a hate crime
Photo: Marcello Lucero
Other candidates—namely Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney—tried to outdo Tancredo. But their sparring during the primary debates did not take them to the top of the Republican ticket. And ultimately, Republican nominee John McCain, by backstepping on immigration reform, failed to move the vast majority Latino voters. Latin American immigrants are 40 percent of the Hispanic electorate. The vast majority of Latinos support a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants.
The scapegoating of immigrants had its consequences locally. Republican incumbents like State Senator Serphin Maltese were not helped by their party’s shortsighted platform on immigration and the economy. And without a disastrous party, Maltese alone would have been counting his days in Queens, the borough with the largest immigrant population. Maltese voted against a state measure allowing non citizen students to pay the same rate of in-state tuition as native students.
But one of the most significant defeats in the northeast was of Mayor Lou Barletta of Hazleton, PA. Barletta appeared on the national radar when he pushed through a harsh anti-immigrant ordinance that was thrown out in a legal battle. With the admiration of enforcement-only zealots, Barletta ran for Congress. He lost on Tuesday.
Click here and here for more on Barletta; here for more on Tancredo; and here for why Maltese's opponent--Senator-elect Joseph Addabbo--was the better choice for Latinos and immigrants of Queens .Undoubtedly, some politicians will resort to another fear-based campaign to rile up voters. But the tide of blaming immigrants may have run its course.
Tomorrow, some immigrants hoping to be naturalized in time to vote will not be able to do so; teenagers months shy of their 18th birthday won’t be able to cast a ballot and undocumented persons who were let down by an impasse on immigration reform will not be able to vote either.
This is where you, the registered voter, come in. You not only have the right to vote, but also the responsibility to do so.
During the past year, thousands of volunteers from local and national organizations committed to helping more Latinos become citizens and register to vote. This dedicated cadre has knocked on doors and spent countless hours educating people on their rights as voters. They have been vigilant about attempts to restrict people from voting.
Vote for their hard work.
Generations of women were not allowed to vote until the suffrage movement successfully won that right. Vote in honor of women whose voices were silenced.
Vote for people who were denied the right to vote, even as citizens. Before 1965, an English literacy requirement in New York excluded voters who spoke Spanish and other languages. Head to the polls for them.
In the 1960’s, New Yorkers were among those who went to the South to help African Americans vote in the face of violence from white supremacists. Civil Rights workers on this mission were beaten and murdered. Vote in their memory.
Citizens in Puerto Rico, even those who are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and who served in conflicts, are not allowed to vote for president. Cast a ballot for them.
Tomorrow, make your voice heard and honor those who are so far from that precious right.