A group of teenagers murdered Marcello Lucero on November 8th. An Ecuadorian immigrant who had lived in the U.S. for 16 years, the 37 year-old Lucero was lynched in the Long Island (New York) suburb of Patchogue. The seven teenage assailants–ranging in age from 16 to 17–apparently sought out Latinos to beat up. They were quoted as saying “Let’s go find some Mexicans.”
While the spectacular character of such a tragedy is clear to almost everyone, the sad murder of Marcelo Lucero should serve as a living lesson of the continued presence of anti-Latino bias and hatred which are heavily embedded in our national cultures and, increasingly, being picked and poked to disastrous consequence.
There is an injustice in merely criminalizing these seven young people who committed this crime, though they must face justice. There is an added disrespect in isolating this gross act as an abberation to the daily existence of Latinos in this country. While most of us will never die the victim of a hate crime, it is the barrage of daily instances of a cultural difference and social separation–which do not rise to the level of violence and death–that flesh out the fuller picture of the setting of Lucero’s murder. We all are guilty of letting such currents to thrive; some of us are far more guilty of nurturing them in our present.
For more information on the Lucero murder, see the following: