Marcelo Lucero | Page 2 | Not in Our Town

Marcelo Lucero

“This is an aged hand that is working to mend the heart that’s been broken, and we can all do that—mend each other’s hearts.”  Ruth Monaco, Patchogue quilter
In the aftermath of a hate crime, how do teachers open a conversation with their students about hate and intolerance? After seven high schoolstudents assaulted and killed Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue, NY, local educators were shocked that this could happen intheir town. At South Ocean Middle School, Principal Linda Pickford wantedto create a safe environment where her students could express theirfeelings about the tragedy, and share their ideas about diversity,immigration, inclusion and respect.  When Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri suggested that Principal Pickfordhost an art exhibit called “Embracing Our Differences,” she agreed thatart was a great medium to explore these important issues, and shemounted the collection of banners on the front lawn of her school.
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.)
Marcelo Lucero's killer, Jeffrey Conroy, was convicted of manslaughter as a hate crime today in Suffolk County, NY. In these videos, Joselo Lucero describes what it has felt like for him and his family to live through the hearings and trials of the defendants charged with the hate-based killing of his brother. Since the tragic killing of Marcelo Lucero, Not In Our Town has been following the community of Patchogue, NY as it deals with issues of race, immigration, hate and  intolerance. The upcoming feature documentary, Not In Our Town III, chronicles the efforts of Patchogue's diverse residents and leaders as they grapple with the aftereffects of the murder and begin to take action to make their community safe for everyone.
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.
                Tragedy Shapes Community Leadership   Joselo Lucero never imagined that he would become a spokesperson and a symbol for community safety and immigrants’ rights. As he spoke Saturday night before the crowd gathered at the site of his brother’s murder one year earlier, the hundreds who had gathered despite inclement weather stood rapt.   
  Patchogue Theatre buzzed with excitement as the community came together April 20, 2009, for an evening of performance dedicated to unity and inclusiveness, five months after a violent hate crime shocked the small community in Suffolk County, New York. The Working Group’s Not In Our Town Project has been following the story of the town’s response to the killing of local resident Marcelo Lucero. Seven high school students were charged in the case. Our film crew traveled to Patchogue to capture the “Raising the Curtain on Unity” line-up of local musicians and dancers, including high school students, and a guest appearance by a leading cast member of the Broadway production In the Heights, that performed to a sold-out house despite torrential rain.
In the aftermath of the hate crime murder of Marcelo Lucero, community leaders and members have taken a strong stance against the anti-immigrant atmosphere that led to his death. Leaders from seven civil rights organizations held a news conference on Monday in Washington to denounce not only the killing of Lucero, but also the anti-immigrant actions and behaviors of politicians and the media that they see as conducive to such hate crimes.   Representatives at the conference, put on by the National Council of La Raza, the Asian American Justice Center, the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, MALDEF, the National Urban League, and the Leadership Conferene on Civil Rights, also called for Congress to pass the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act, which would grant federal government jurisdiction over prosecuting hate crimes where local measures are insufficient.  
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. “
  Over a thousand people gathered for a candelight vigil in memory of Marcelo Lucero. It is shocking and disheartening to report yet another killing of a young Latino immigrant by a group of teenagers, who admit they were “looking for a Mexican.” 37-year-old Marcello Lucero, who had come to the U.S. 16 years ago from Ecuador, was beaten and stabbed to death.  Seven young men from Patchogue, NY were arrested in connection to his murder. A thousand people gathered at the Patchogue train station on Friday to remember Lucero. Patchogue is located in Suffolk County, which has passed a series of laws limiting services for undocumented residents. Just seven miles up the road from Patchogue is the town of Farmingville, a town whose acrimonious divisions over immigration were documented in the PBS POV film Farmingville four years ago.