Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness is a one-hour documentary about a town coming together to take action after anti-immigrant violence devastates the community. In 2008, a series of attacks against Latino residents of Patchogue, New York culminate with the murder of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who had lived in the Long Island village for 13 years.
Over a two-year period, the story follows Mayor Paul Pontieri, the victim’s brother, Joselo Lucero, and Patchogue residents as they openly address the underlying causes of the violence, work to heal divisions, and begin taking steps to ensure everyone in their village will be safe and respected.
Communities can host screenings and events to discuss how to prevent hate crimes, and develop new ways to make their towns safer for everyone.
The People of Patchogue
Meet four Patchogue residents profiled in the film who take action to change their community.
Paul Pontieri, Mayor of Patchogue
Paul Pontieri is jolted into action as he meets with Latino residents to learn how to make everyone in the community feel safe. Four months after Marcelo Lucero’s murder, the mayor leads the Patchogue Board of Trustees to pass a resolution stating that "thoughtful discourse can only occur in an environment free of hatred and vilification," and that anti-immigrant rhetoric not only harms targeted groups but "our entire social fabric."
Joselo Lucero, brother of Marcelo Lucero
Joselo Lucero followed his older brother, Marcelo, from their hometown in Ecuador to the Village of Patchogue. Shocked by his brother's murder, Joselo calls for justice, an end to hatred, and brings attention to anti-immigrant violence in Suffolk County. Thrust into a public role as a voice for change, Joselo urges people to come together so that a tragedy, like his brother's death, never happens again.
Lola Quesada, Suffolk County Police Officer
After Marcelo Lucero's murder, the Suffolk County Police Department assigned two Spanish-speaking officers to Patchogue, including Officer Lola Quesada. Lola also attends public meetings as a liaison between the immigrant community and the police. As community liaison, Lola appears on talk radio to inform immigrants about their rights and encourage them to report hate attacks to police. She also teaches essential Spanish to police recruits.
Gilda Ramos, Librarian Assistant at Patchogue-Medford Library
Just a week before Marcelo Lucero's murder, librarian assistant Gilda Ramos and librarian Jean Kaleda learned that people were afraid to attend evening ESL classes at the library for fear of being attacked at night. Kaleda and Ramos call for community meetings at the library, and create a safe space for the community to heal after the murder. Gilda Ramos also translates when conversation between Patchogue's Spanish-speaking residents and their neighbors was crucial.
Support for this program is provided by PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust; the Reva and David Logan Foundation; and the Public Welfare Foundation.
Support for Not In Our Town outreach is provided by the Walter and Elise Haas, Sr. Foundation and the Werner-Kohnstamm Family Fund.
The Inclusive Communities Campaign is a multi-year initiative that combines the broadcast with on-the-ground action.