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.
On November 8, 2008, Marcelo Lucero, a 35-year-old Ecuadorean immigrant, was beaten and stabbed to death. Seven teenagers, students at the local high school, have been charged in the killing. Since then, residents of Patchogue have had to face up to the deep divides over race and immigration in their town. Three days before the vigil, one of the defendants pled guilty and agreed to testify against the other six.
Performances by local musicians, flowers, and candles reflected Lucero’s request that the vigil be peaceful and apolitical. In his release about the vigil, Lucero stated, “Our message is no more violence but peace, no more racism but instead brotherhood and no more abuse rather respect.” Mayor Paul Pontieri addressed the crowd, saying, “We are one single community who live in Patchogue.” Pontieri welcomed Rosario Lucero, mother of Marcelo and Joselo, who said, "I don't feel any hate or revenge, because I'm not the one who has to judge the others, but I'm only asking for justice.”
After the vigil, people walked to the Congregational Church of Patchogue for a religious service. The next day, a memorial service and rosary were held at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, directly across from South Ocean Middle School.
Joselo Lucero has worked tirelessly to share his brother’s story and shine light on the damage being done by anti-immigrant sentiment and legislation. The week before the vigil, he visited Patchogue’s South Ocean Middle School to speak to the students about diversity and acceptance. Assistant Principal Rui Mendes said that Lucero’s presentation touched the students deeply. “If you don’t know anything about middle school kids,” he said, “they’re never quiet… When [Joselo] did the whole presentation, you couldn’t hear a pin drop. They knew that this was important.” Lucero pointed out one of the large banners on the front lawn of the school depicting one large heart made up of many smaller hearts. “You are like these hearts,” he told the students. “You have to change the world.”
Patchogue Continues to Focus on Acceptance
The exhibit of banners on the middle school lawn was the brainchild of Mayor Paul Pontieri, who has been instrumental in efforts to heal the Patchogue community since the killing of Marcelo Lucero. After seeing Embracing Our Differences, an exhibit of billboard-sized work by local artists, on the SUNY Stonybrook campus, Pontieri approached Principal Linda Pickford and asked if her school would host the exhibit. The banners serve as conversation starters for the students to discuss diversity and acceptance.
Middle school teacher Jackie Nolan took her sixth grade students outside to talk about the banners. “They’re very eager to share and to discuss,” she said. “And a lot of times … in the classroom, when we have our objective, we preach, we talk to them. But …we need to give them that opportunity to be able to talk and share. And this opens that up for them.”
Principal Pickford noted that not only the students were affected by the display. “As it evolved,” she said, “I watched cars slowing down and people sometimes pulling over and getting out of their car” to look at the banners."
COMING SOON: Look out for a new Not In Our School video featuring South Ocean Middle School students and the Embracing Our Differences exhibit!
1 John 4:20 Project
The 1 John 4:20 project turns the tide of vile hatred spewed by conservative religious leaders calling for the death of the President of the United States.
1 John 4:20If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
There’s a new slogan making its way onto car bumpers and across the Internet. It reads simply: “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8” A nice sentiment? Maybe not. The psalm reads, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.”
So join us at 1 John 4:20 and show your support of the President. You can also go to the Zazzle store and purchase 1 John 4:20 bumper stickers, stickers, hats, and more.
A hate crime is a physical act against a whole community, and everyone in the neighborhood suffers. Community rituals help heal everyone hurt by the violence.
But today, neighborhoods have gone virtual and people's attention is elsewhere. Civic life has been diminished through lack of attention, and citizenship is being drowned out of the public space by the commerical and political deluge of digital media.
Bravo to NIOT for supporting communitiy healing - and for giving us this vivid glimpse into a heartening and heartbreaking parts of American life we need to see. Niot.org is tapping into a worldwide community that cares ... because now, it's our neighborhood.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! I love the idea that NIOT.org can be a virtual neighborhood that cares.
Help me connect to vigil organizers please!
I'm and ESL teachers at Newcomers High School in LIC, Queens. This is a school for new immigrants to the US. I also run a human rights program at the school. We have been focusing on the human rights abuses against immigrants on LI, particularly in Suffolk.
My students and I would love to connect with and help anyone involved in positive actions to improve the lives of immigrants in Suffolk.
Please let me know who I can contact.
Welcome to the NIOT Network
Thank you for your interest in the Not In Our Town Movement! The work you do is so important. We have many resources on our website for educators and community members that may be of interest to you; particularly I would direct you to the Not In Our Schools section of the website (http://preview.niot.org/nios). Please email us at email@example.com and we will put you in touch with the Marcelo Lucero Vigil organizers and connect you with other resources that may be helpful for you and your students. Please consider starting a NIOT group on the website ( http://preview.niot.org/get-local ) and a Not In Our School Chapter in your school.
Thank you for your comment and your efforts!
Christina, Not In Our Town
wow this is just so not
wow this is just so not right. I mean what crime he had commited to deserve his life to be taken a away?
HUman Right's violation!!
This article is a reflection of human right's violation for immigrants. It show's how immigrants are treated in here. It show's that how many American's think about immigrants living in here. Me as an immigrant, I feel very passionate about this issue. I feel that all immigrants living here should deserve equality as American's. They come here in this country with a dream. Some of us would refer to it as "American Dream". Murcelo Lucero is an ecuadorian immigrant. He also came to this country with a hope of living standard life like all the American's. He never thought that his dream would washed away. He has left his family back in Ecuador. He though of America as a land of oppurtunity. He thought that America would offer him a job but here they have a job exploitation. He died before complteting his American dreams.Threfore, We should work hard to raise awarness for human right's. We should always try our best to talk about human right's issues and become more active about this.
It can't happen again!!
What happened in LI, it's really dissapointed. I don't understand why some people think that they are superior of others. I think that people who usually discriminate immigrants people don't have feelings. This is something who make scare to people who are immigrant just like me, we don't know whemn we are going to be attacked, we don't feel safety. This is ironic because we come jsu t to have a better future nothing else, and what we are getting here is just abuses and mistreatment.
I was really upset by reading
I was really upset by reading the above event. In reality this is what happens to a person who tries to inspires himself or herself for fight for humanrights violation. The person windes up dying for saving other rights. I guess this is why we dont have insperiational peoeple lilke Mr, lucero tp fight against humanrights vilation because they are very much concerned about living their lives. They dont understadn the fact that their lives are not only ment to be for serving their purposes . people like Mr. Luccero dedicate their lives on fighting fopr our rights and eventually they are ones who get to face humilitation and we got to take advantage of their heard work.
EVERYBODY CAN STOP IT AND NOW IT IS THE TIME TO DO IT!!!!!!!
I think it is a wonderful thing. If everybody work together as one, we can stop these hate crimes.Bescause it coul happen to anyone.And I think if we convert as one we can bring big changes, not only in this kind of problem, but in many others. And also if we don't do something now, it coul get worse and worse. It is time to do something not only for you, but for everybody..
What bad did he do?
I am sebastjano i am from a school called newcomers high school which is located in LIC.in my school i am in the human rights class in which we discuss the violations of human rights and the rights of immigrants.In my class i heard about the case of Marcelo Lucero.All i have to say is that i am really sorry for the loss of that family.What the murderers did was very wrong.i think they have no brain to think or eyes to see whats in front of them.they think that immigrants are some ignorant people and they take away their jobs but that is so not true.The immigrants are hard working and really intellegent they are doing the jobs that americans are not willing to do.i will support any organization that has to do with the protection of the humman rights of the immigrants u have my help anything just email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
jst " UNFAIR"
I am a Newcomers students , and I am part of a program for human rights. When I see this, it just makes me feel like all the efforts we do in the class are in vain. Still, I will keep fighting for immigrants rights, which are also human rights. I am an immigrant too , and several time I have been victim of discrimination because of my accent, or because of my skin color. Keep fighting for those who are somewhere in the world and every single day are victim of hate crimes, discrimination, slavery, or others is my goal. I won't stop fighting untill I reach that goal !
I did not believe that teenagers were capable of this until last year. .There are many intolerant and ignorant people in the U.S. Most of the crime in the U.S. are commited by young people. What is happening now in the U.S. might turned into something bigger than we expected unlesss...
Not In Our Town!
Not in Our Town. Not In our School. Not in our Home. As an Immigrant, I'm aware and I've experienced agressive acts of discrimination just because I'm Mexican-American. Nevertheless these crimes don't scare me. I feel more passionate and more thirsty of justice. The death of Lucero will not be in vain, and he will never be forgotten unless we let him be forgotten. "We the people" of the latino and immigrant community must fight for our rights. This is just the beginning of a new era.
PS: I just want to ask Mrs. Mann the educators and the NIOT staff if they could help me to get started. I need more information about the things I can do or the places I can attend to work for our rights. Thank you.
we deserve somenthing better
man what the hell is happening to teh world now just because someone comes from another country tehy have the right to beat them to dead and as ROY said it is very upset and as FANNY said it must not happen again cuz we are all humans and we have rights and we dont deserve to die like animals and we should do something to stop it dont let it happen again adn Marcelo lucero was just another victims of hundreds that have been victims of hate crime adn no one does anything no efven the police until now
what's happening to the world?
The death of Marcelo Lucero was an impact for our community. It's true that racial crimes are not something new in our society nowadays but the most impacting was the people who killed him: seven teenagers. They took away the life of an inocent just because he was an immigrant. A person with dreams and hopes. A person who had to sacrifice himself to suceed in life. I feel sorrow about the family of marcelo, especially about his mother because she didn't have the opportunity to talk to him one more time. i believe everyone deserves to be in the place they want. The united states is a country made of immigrants. I watched a documentary called "Made in Los Angeles" and a woman represented an immigrant community with a pyramid. immigrants are the bottom, if we take it away, everything is going to fall down. perhaps a lot of people want to get rid of all immigrants, but what would happen without them?
this is unfair for immigrants!!!!
This type of events can't happen again. It is very disapoint that in the world some people are against other people just by their nacionality. What happened to Marcelo Lucero show us that immigrants here always have to face different problems . Like many imigrants we came here with many dreams and it is difficult for us but it is part of the life. The problem here is that many americans don't permit us to life in pace here. We know thta it is their country but we are just looking a better future for us and our families. I like the idea that people get together to fight for humans rights.
Immigrants are abusing by Amertican teenager
This article is about immigrants people are treated like animal. At Patchogue country immigrant’s people don’t have human rights. It shows that American teenager attack the immigrants when they go put side and they can’t do anything do anything to protect themselves because they afraid of police and most of them don’t have document of this country.
This is a sad story.
This is a sad story. Discrimenation happens everywhere and the hate crime follows it. i have seen many films about latino immigrants being beaten or even killed. and most of the people who commit beating are high school kids. thay dont like immigrants and they just do it for fun. This action has been called "Beaner-Hopping". High school kidsalso do it as a sport, and im sick of this. people hate eachother, doing things to hurt others. I hope this would be changed someday. Like that Martin Luther KIng Jr' sppech of " i have a dream" that people would live together in peace.
This is a sad story because
This is a sad story because Marco Lucero was a person that had dreams as others do . And these dreams were broken just because of hate. I don't know why people create this hate againts immigrants, I think this is wrong becuase we are people that are looking for a better life and nobody is trying to steal anything from Americans. In this article we can see violation of human's right that people do just for fun.This is a problem of discrimination and this must end, because crimes againts immigrants must not reach so far. I think people should understand that everybody is equal and nobody is more than other, because immigrants must be treated as americans do.
Problem with activation
Hi there, I dont know if I am writing in a proper board but I have got a problem with activation, link i receive in email is not working... http://www.niot.org/?f96c4552c70f72225e1fac1e8a5,
Sorry to hear about the trouble, please email us
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