Mark your calendars: “Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness” is one of the encore programs featured in PBS’s Hispanic Heritage Month programming lineup, which runs from September 15 to October 15. (Check your local listings for “Light in the Darkness” airtimes.)
After nearly a dozen attacks on immigrants, people in Staten Island, NY are working to organize a response. Two ministers are collaborating to begin dialogue in a tense atmosphere, a mile long march was held to support a gay Hispanic couple that was attacked, and local civic leaders have launched a unity campaign called “I Am Staten Island.”
NEW VIDEO: "JOSELO'S JOURNEY, PART 1" What if you had to listen to the details of your brother's murder, over and over again? That's what Joselo Lucero is going through, as he sits in the Long Island courtrooms where 19-year-old Jeffrey Conroy is now standing trial for the murder of Joselo's brother, Marcelo. Marcelo Lucero, an immigrant from Ecuador, was attacked and stabbed to death in the small town of Patchogue, N.Y. in a hate crime assault in November 2008. Seven local teenagers were charged in the attack. Today one of the assailants, testifying against Conroy, the only teen charged with murder, said the seven teens often went "beaner hopping," which he described to the court as “it’s when you go out and look for Hispanics to beat up.” The community of Patchogue and Latino leaders are working to address the safety concerns of immigrants in the aftermath of the crime.
Shenandoah, PA: When two Pennsylvania teenagers were acquitted in May in the fatal beating of a Mexican immigrant laborer, many people, from the victim's widow to the state governor, felt justice had not been served. Apparently the Department of Justice had similar concerns. And now they're charging local police as well. On Dec. 10, 2009, Derrick Donchak, 18, and Brandon Pikarsky, 19, were indicted on federal hate crime charges in the July 2008 beating death of 25-year-old Luis Eduardo Ramirez Zavala. The town's police chief and two police officers were also indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and covering up evidence to protect the defendants, who were popular high school football players. Prosecutors told reporters the investigation was spoiled because the officers helped the boys invent a story that concealed the racial motivation for their attack. Donchak and Piekarsky were acquitted by an all-white county jury of murder, manslaughter, and aggravated assault, Pennsylvania's equivalent of hate crimes. They were found guilty of simple assault and given light jail time. Piekarsky was scheduled for release this month.
On July 14, 2008, 25-year-old Luis Eduardo Ramirez, a Mexican immigrant and resident of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, was brutally beaten to death by a group of teenagers from the small Appalachian town. As Ramirez was kicked and punched, witnesses say the teens yelled racist slurs at Ramirez, and told the woman he was walking home with to “get your Mexican boyfriend out of here.” Ramirez was beaten so severely he never regained consciousness, and two days later, died from his injuries.