Newcomers High School | Not in Our Town

Newcomers High School

Julie Mann leads a human rights class at Newcomers High School in New York, which has recently been focusing on thetreatment of local immigrants. My name is Julie Mann and I’m an ESL and Human Rights teacher at Newcomers High School. About 17 years ago, I started a special human rights class at Newcomers. In recent years, my human rights class has focused on immigration and anti-immigrant sentiments and actions, very locally in New York. More specifically, we started thinking and learning about treatment of immigrants on Long Island, first through the film Farmingville and then through the murder of Marcelo Lucero. When that horrific event occurred, my students and I felt we had to do something. To help change negative perceptions of immigrants, we decided to teach others their stories. I truly believe that most hate crimes occur out of ignorance and fear of the unknown. I felt that if people got to know my students, they would have to love them! Last year, we created the Building Bridges project, because I felt it would help build a bridge between immigrants and those who feared them.
The students of Newcomers High School, a school for newly arrived immigrants in Queens, N.Y., reached out to Joselo Lucero with letters of sympathy when his brother Marcelo was killed in 2008. Two years later, Joselo visits the school to speak to the students about what he learned from the loss of his brother, his experiences as an immigrant, and the difficult process of forgiveness. "He's telling his story," said Newcomers teacher Julie Mann. "And even though it's a difficult and painful story, he's not afraid to do that, and I think that's a big lesson for my students." The Lucero family is in no way associated with the Lucero de America Foundation. Joselo Lucero now makes school visits promoting respect for diversity and non-violence. He is available at  Joselo Lucero has set up the Marcelo Lucero Scholarship at Patchogue-Medford High School. Donations can be directly sent to:  Marcelo Lucero Scholarship, 181 Buffalo Avenue, Medford, NY 11763.
Multimedia in the Classroom: Student Video Diaries and Publication from the Building Bridges Project "Immigrants have been under attack in recent years, mainly due to lack of awareness and stereotypes about who immigrants are and why they come here. It is our hope that these stories will help to end these negative attacks and build a bridge between my students and those who haven‘t had the pleasure of knowing them. It is also our hope that through their stories, we will help to educate the world about the rich and wonderful people my students and their ancestors are, the extraordinary experiences they have had, the goals and dreams they have for their lives here, and the enormous value they add to this country."  —Julie Mann, Newcomers High School Human Rights teacher