Marcelo Lucero | Not in Our Town

Marcelo Lucero

Our hearts go out to the Lucero family and the people of Patchogue, who have worked for years to repair the damage caused by the traumatic hate crime killing of Marcelo Lucero in 2008.
This sign was posted on a fence a few yards from where Marcelo Lucero was killed in a hate crime attack on Nov. 8, 2012 in Patchogue, NY.  Today marks the fourth anniversary of Marcelo Lucero’s hate crime killing in Patchogue, NY. Marcelo’s death unveiled a pattern of anti-immigrant attacks that had gone unnoticed for years. We documented Patchogue’s efforts to heal divisions after tragedy in Light in the Darkness, and we remember Marcelo Lucero today because immigrants are still vulnerable to violence.  A young Mayan man recently came to our office to share the story of how he was severely beaten by white supremacists on the streets of San Francisco last year. “I felt the first blow hit me and from there it didn’t stop,” he told us. “I didn’t know how to escape.”
"Workers Without Wheels is saying, 'You come in here and maybe we're training you about bicycles, but you might be training us about how to treat each other decently.'" —Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter    "Workers Without Wheels," a short film from Ed Betz Photography features an innovative bicycle program that brings together immigrants and community members in Patchogue, N.Y. The program not only provides bicycles to those in need, but work-training as well. Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter, who appeared in Light in the Darkness, leads the Congregational Church of Patchogue.     Workers Without Wheels holds a giveaway and fundraiser tomorrow, May 19. Click here for more details. 
By Paul Pontieri, Mayor, Incorporated Village of Patchogue Mayor Paul V. Pontieri At the 2011 Congress of Cities and Exposition in Phoenix, Mayor Paul Pontieri of Patchogue, N.Y., helped lead a workshop featuring segments from the PBS documentary Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness, about the community response to an anti-immigrant hate crime killing in his town. The session, sponsored by NLC’s Municipal Action for Immigrant Integration program (MAII) launched a productive conversation with mayors and other city leaders about how to effectively address these complex challenges. Mayor Pontieri will appear at a film screening and discussion on February 8, 6:30 p.m. at Scottsdale Community College Performing Arts Center in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Today marks the third anniversary of the death of Marcelo Lucero, Ecuadorian immigrant and Patchogue, N.Y. resident. According to the Patchogue Patch, approximately 100 people attended services dedicated to Marcelo Lucero and other victims of hate crimes this weekend.  At the services, Marcelo's brother, Joselo, thanked the crowd for attending. "I really feel like this is what I want from the beginning," Joselo Lucero said, "just to have two communities in one place getting along in harmony." Attendees honored other hate crime victimes lost and injured and wrote messages of peace and love in both English and Spanish. After the services, the crowd marched to the spot Marcelo Lucero was killed and scattered roses in his name.  
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.
Jesse Castañeda, chair of the Silicon Valley Alliance for Immigration Reform (SVAIR) and human rights activist, has been campaigning for immigration reform in an effort to bridge the gap between the immigrant and mainstream populations.         Jesse Castaneda, Chair of the Silicon Valley Alliance for Immigration Reform, at the Light in the Darkness screening in San Francisco Castañeda recently organized a screening of Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San Jose, Calif., using the film to facilitate a conversation about anti-immigrant sentiment in his community.    “My community is the community that Marcelo Lucero's family is part of—immigrants, mostly Latino immigrants, many undocumented. They do not have a voice in our society and live in the shadows,” said Castañeda.
A slow and beautiful melody streams from Robert Bruey’s acoustic guitar as he steps up to the microphone. He clears his throat, and addresses the mourning crowd surrounding him.    “I wrote this song after I heard about this [...] historical inaccuracy,” said the Long Island musician in a somber tone. “Marcelo didn’t run.”    Clear and full of warmth, Bruey’s earthy voice transcends the silence at the vigil held on this biting cold November afternoon.   Robert Bruey performs "Perdoname Hermano" at vigil on November 7, 2010, two years after Marcelo Lucero's death.   
Two years after a hate crime rocked the small Long Island village of Patchogue, N.Y., the community will come together to remember local resident Marcelo Lucero and to pledge to work toward peace, harmony, and unity in the wake of Lucero's violent death. Lucero's younger brother, Joselo Lucero, is organizing a vigil on Sunday, Nov. 7 and has invited youth to create positive messages for a Wall of Hope at the ceremony. Patchogue mayor Paul Pontieri and the Village Trustees will be participating in the event.