In the wake of the killing of Marcello Lucero by a group of local teenagers, the Long Island Council of Churches released a statement condemning the apparent hate crime. In the release, they state:
“In assaulting these two unarmed men, this gang of cowards betrayed everything that America stands for and that the good people of Patchogue have worked so hard to build in their community. It is particularly tragic that this occurred just before our nation prepares to celebrate Thanksgiving. Imagine where we would be today if Massasoit and his people had hunted down the Pilgrims.”
The Working Group recently spoke to Rev. Thomas Goodhue, executive director of the LICC, about responding to Marcello’s murder.
“You need to come together publicly,” says Thomas. “This is a time when you need to cross traditions and barriers yourself. My word back to the political leaders is to urge them to be in a Latino church this weekend.”
“The Obama victory has show that we have come a long way. I think we can say with more confidence that hate crimes are un-American. But these crimes show there is much work to do to create what MLK called ‘the beloved community.’ We need to publicly say – this is not us. “
Goodhue emphasized the role local politicians need to take to renounce hateful actions in their communities.
“When the African American church was targeted by skinheads in the first Not In Our Town events in Billings, Montana, people from other churches just showed up. That’s what the politicians need to do – instead of giving speeches, they need to really be there. When people are able to embody inclusion, they are denying the people who hate a victory.”
Goodhue is urging people to attend tomorrow night’s candlelight vigil at the Patchogue train station at 7PM, and Marcello’s funeral, to be held on Saturday at First Congregational Church in Patchogue. He also encourages people to make contributions so that Marcello’s family can return his body to his home in Ecuador.