One Year Later: Remembering Marcelo Lucero

Where were you on November 8, 2008?

I clearly remember that I was smarting from the passage of Prop 8 and demonstrating out in the streets of San Francisco one week prior to the huge Join the Impact rallies in 16 states. The brutal killing of Marcelo Lucero in New York was not on my radar at the time but the hatred directed towards people who are deemed ‘different’ was certainly plaguing my conscience and affecting my choices.

While local law enforcement officials pledged ignorance to tensions in the community, an investigation by the New York Times established a clear pattern of white youths preying on Latino residents for several years. One of Lucero’s attackers told law enforcement that they would routinely go “beaner jumping,” which meant they would hunt down and assault Latinos.

I wish I could say that we have come a long way as a country since the election of the first Black person as President of the United States. However, it is wrong to make any such proclamation especially in light of the latest deportation of the Mejia-Perez family. The comments at Marin Independent Journal are vile and racist, one in particular calling for the execution of Gilbert Mejia–their DREAM-eligible Guatemala-born son still in the United States fighting for asylum.

The hate crime against Marcelo Lucero is not an isolated incident. It prompted a wave of killings against Latinos from Wilter Sanchez to Luis Ramirez to Brisenia Flores. A month after Marcelo was stabbed brutally, 31-year-old Jose Sucuzhanay, was beaten to death by three men, who yelled anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs as he walked home with his brother. Finally, almost a year later, a hearing is scheduled for this murder on Monday November 9, 9:30am – 12:30pm at Kings Supreme Court, 320 Jay St, Brooklyn, New York.

In the context of a highly polarized immigration debate, hate crimes against Latinos will continue to rise. Prominent media figures like Lou Dobbs scapegoating immigrants and blaming us economic downturn and the housing crisis only aggravates matters.

Have you spoke out against hatred? What have you done since Marcelo was killed to make sure that these atrocities do not happen in your neighborhood and on your watch?

Here is something you can do: Sign the petition in support of immigration reform, and do your part to prevent another tragedy like that of Marcelo Lucero.

(Image Credit: Long Island Wins)

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