Our film, Light in the Darkness, focuses on Patchogue, N.Y. following the hate crime killing of local immigrant Marcelo Lucero in 2008. Seven local teenagers from Patchogue-Medford High School were arrested for the attack—one was charged with murder, the other six were charged with gang assault and conspiracy. 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 initiate ongoing action to ensure everyone in their village will be safe and respected. Joselo Lucero and family, speaking to the press after the trial. The crime, trial and other legal actions gained national media attention. On the Light in the Darkness: Legal Actions page, you can read about the tense climate for immigrants in Suffolk County, beginning nearly a decade before Marcelo Lucero's death; the trial of Jeffrey Conroy; and find extended interviews with Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota and prosecutor, Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Megan O'Donnell.
Last week, the Not In Our Town film crew traveled to Suffolk County, NY to continue our coverage of community response to the hate crime killing of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorean immigrant who was attacked by seven local high school students and stabbed to death by one of them on November 8, 2008. The story of young people roaming the streets of a town looking for "Mexicans" to beat up shocked the nation, and the case has become an alarming manifestation of the increasing animosity toward immigrants in this country. Our story looks at the effects of the hate crime attacks on Marcelo Lucero and other immigrants in Suffolk County, and on how a diverse group of people in this community are trying to repair the divisions in the aftermath of this crime. "Hate has to stop now," Joselo Lucero told reporters after the sentencing of Jeffrey Conroy, the 19-year-old convicted of the hate crime killing of Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue, NY. "I want to work with kids so nothing like this happens again," Joselo said. (Joselo's statement below is in English, followed by Spanish.)