Mourners write messages to the victims on the 12 respective crosses that line the street across from the crime scene. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images In the midst of shock and mourning over the recent tragedy, the Aurora, Colo. community proves to be a site of immense strength.
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.
Today is the 11th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day when we remember those killed because of anti-transgender hate. The event was created in 1999 to memorialize Rita Hester, a trans woman who was killed in San Francisco. Her case remains unsolved, as do so many murders of transgender people, who face extremely high rates of discrimination and violence. TDOR has a partial list of those we remember today. In the past year, we have seen the convictions of the killers of Lateisha Green and Angie Zapata, and the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Act, the first major piece of federal legislation extending legal protections to LGBT people; yet there is much more work to do.
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.
In the wake of the worst attack on Israel’s gay community in the country’s history, San Franciscans added their voices as people in cities around the world came together to protest homophobia and stand in solidarity with the victims.
After the recent beating of Brandon Manning, a 24-year-old African American resident, the Richmond chapter of the NAACP called a vigil in El Sobrante, CA on Feb. 5, 2009, to support Manning and his family. Two dozen community members joined city and religious leaders who huddled together in the rain at the park where Manning was attacked. “I’m here to give my support to the Manning family,” said Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. “Ultimately I want to say Richmond is a place that welcomes people of all races, creeds and cultures, all sexual orientations — and at times like this, we come together to support each other and to strengthen our resolve and ability to respond and to just come back stronger.” Manning, who attended the vigil, embraced the community’s support. “If I can bring people together, then I’ve done something,” he said.
At the height of the holiday season, community members in Richmond and neighboring cities came together to show support for the survivor of a brutal hate crime. On December 27, over 150 people gathered for a candlelight vigil held for a woman who was gang raped by four men. The victim, an openly gay 28-year-old woman, was assaulted on the evening of December 13. Upon leaving her car, which had a rainbow sticker on the license plate, the woman was struck with a blunt object and repeatedly raped by the four men. Throughout the 45-minute attack, the attackers made remarks about the victim’s sexual orientation. The attack ended when they forced her out of her car and drove away, leaving her naked by a burned-out apartment complex. Last week, police arrested four suspects, two adults and two teenagers, in this case. The four men have been charged with kidnapping, gang rape, and car jacking. Hate crime enhancements have also been brought against one of the assailants. Joshua Klipp and Vanessa Wilson co-organized the vigil with the support of Hand to Hand Kajukenbo Self Defense Center and Community United Against Violence.
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.
On February 12, 15-year-old Lawrence “Larry” King was shot in the computer lab of his school by a fellow student at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, California. Larry died three days later. According to friends, Larry was perceived to be gay and gender non-conforming, and had been bullied at school. The suspect, a fourteen-year-old student, has been charged with first degree murder, and the case is being prosecuted as a hate crime.