A HATE CRIME is made possible by many actors, not just one ugly mind and hand. You have the actual perpetrator of the act, the immediate culture that encourages and approves of this behavior, the legislation that provides a moral/legal underpinning for certain views, and those who craft the legislation. All will soon be held accountable.
THE MURDER OF MARCELO LUCERO was an unnecessary and tragic consequence of (and partner to) the hateful anti-immigrant language spit out by too many today. Some of these actors are demagogues who make cashmoney for spewing vitriol on a stage (Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck); some are just fools who repeat whatever seems to support their own ugly urges to demonize Latin@s or migrants; and some are politicians who operate out of racism, ignorance, sheer opportunism or a combination of all three.
Marcelo Lucero was killed in Suffolk County, Long Island. Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy is being accused by many of being one of those politicians abetting the rising violence with reckless and extreme appeals to harsh crackdowns, local police doing ICE work, and general anti-migrant rhetoric.
“Suffolk County is a particularly good example of elected officials stoking the fires of anti-immigrant sentiment,” [NCLR CEO] Janet Murguía said. “For two years we have urged politicians and members of the media to show some restraint in echoing the damaging rhetoric that demonizes our communities.”
Levy accused Murguía and other critics of blurring the distinction between legal immigration, which he said he supports, and undocumented residents.
I love the whole “Oh but not your kind, just those other ones” vibe to this worn out defense. Anyone paying attention knows there are earnest and intelligent ways to engage the immigration dialogue, ways that won’t bring harm onto people or underline dark imagery and fears they may already harbor. Anyone paying attention to Steve Levy knows he is not using any of those ways!
The Rev. Allan B. Ramirez, an immigrant advocate who is the pastor of the Brookville Reformed Church, decried Levy’s policies. “Along with those seven men, Steve Levy, who has demonized the immigrant community, also has blood on his hands,” Ramirez said.
Blurring the lines. Yeah, the Right wing does this a lot, this projection. This time it’s a Democrat, Steve Levy. No progressive here. Just a hater wearing blue. And he’s known for this.
After all, it’s not Murguía who is blurring lines. She is simply addressing facts. Facts about violence, facts about humans getting hunted and killed, facts about how careless and ugly talk inspires ugliness in others. To her—to me, to la comunidad—those are important facts. To Levy, they are not. Suffolk County County Executive Steve Levy is quoted as tsk-tsking the media interest in Lucero’s nightmarish end by admonishing reporters and scoffing it was merely “a one-day story” except for all their stirring stuff up. So that tells you where this man’s mind and heart are. Of course, being a true limp noodle of integrity, he flapped over to the press once his words began circulating and the spotlight found him, claiming “the horrible incident is indeed more than a one-day story. It was a reminder of how far we as a society still have to go.”
He can’t even say “murder,” can he. He can’t even talk about a life. All this “Horrible Incident” and “it” stuff.
You know what’s worse than a scumbag politician who uses his position of power to blur lines between humans in need and criminals, apathetic to or ignorant of the fact that they are feeding a tide of violence that gets innocent people killed? When that politician is so cowardly that he tries, at the same time, to distance himself from his own doings and come off like a saint.
You know how far we have to go, Mr. Levy? We have to go far enough to unseat Democrats like you. And then a little further.
Now Republicans, take heed of what I said to your daddy Karl: the key to the GOP’s revival is making Democrats like this one look bad to Latin@s by showing them up with candidates working for humane Immigration Reform! (And Dems, if you let the Republicans beat you to this, then you deserve to get beat, “progressive left.”)
In fact, I was on a conference call on this very topic the other day and some of the participants were people based in Suffolk County. And the discussion was very much on the toxic atmosphere in Suffolk County and the connection between legislation pushed and forwarded by Steve Levy and others, and the hate crimes against Latin@s/Mexicans. The people I spoke to related a rash of hate crimes there, this only being one. They also warned anyone looking into the numbers that Patchogue officials play with (methodology of categorizing/assessing) the statistics so they can continue to claim hate crimes are going down. They are not. What is true, according to those Suffolk Country residents/journalists was that these officials are “exploiting people’s hate and fear for personal gain.” And they left us with the statement that “the leaders of anti-migrant legislation in Suffolk county are Democrats.” (The two first names offered were Steve Levy and Jack Eddington.)
Obama won Suffolk County. And Barack Obama would not be president today without the shift in Latino votes this year. And it is already documented and understood that a large part of that shift was due to the immigrant situation and our looking for action on this issue. So what are you doing, Levy? On your own little crusade are you? Clearly. I have a strong suspicion that these types of crusades are soon going to have (political) consequences. So don’t pretend ignorance if you end up with any.
Below is the text of a public meeting held by NCLR and other Civil Rights groups on the rising Hate Crimes in our nation and the murder of Marcelo Lucero. Also below is the video (which has no sound for part of it).
CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS CONDEMN RECENT RASH OF HATE CRIMES
Fatal Beating of Long Island Latino Man Should be a “Wake Up Call for America”
Washington, DC—The brutal murder of Marcelo Lucero, a Suffolk County, Long Island man of Ecuadoran descent, brought seven national civil rights organizations together today to denounce the recent wave of brutal hate crimes against communities of color.
Representatives from the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the National Urban League,the NAACP and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) decried the recent spike in hate crimes both during and after the election.
“In the wake of an election that sends a message to the world about freedom, it seems incongruous to raise the specter of hate in America,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. “Hate did not win the election, but it has certainly reared its head in local communities across the country.”
“It is deeply disturbing to see this surge in hate crimes at a time when we should be celebrating coming together as a country and looking to the future,” said Karen Narasaki, President and Executive Director of AAJC. “Encouraged as we are to see many communities hopeful that we are headed towards an age of greater understanding, we cannot ignore the wave of hate crimes that has occurred in the wake of this historic election.”
The group cited FBI statistics that show hate crimes against Latinos and Asian Americans rising steadily over the past four years and a Southern Poverty Law Center report that details hundreds of incidents of hate crimes, vandalism, and threats committed since Election Day. This includes the election-night assault of Alie Kamara on Staten Island by two teenagers who shouted racial epithets and “Obama!” as they beat him.
“We believe that the Justice Department has to become more aggressive in prosecuting hate crimes,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, one of the nation’s historic civil rights organizations. “As a country, we’ve come a long way, but there is still more change needed.”
“At a time when we as a nation are celebrating our demonstrated diversity as millions of Americans of every race, color, ethnicity, economic status, religion, gender, and place of national origin went to the polls in record numbers to vote for and elect Barack Obama president of the United States, there are unfortunately those who are still living in the past filled hatred, fear and division,” said Hilary Shelton, Director NAACP Washington Bureau.
“Hate crimes such as these must be investigated and prosecuted fully at the local and federal levels,” stated John Trasviña, MALDEF President and General Counsel.
The civil rights groups faulted a “climate of hate” surrounding the immigration debate of recent years and the national election which has been fostered over the airwaves and echoed in political discourse.
“For two years we have urged politicians and members of the media to show some restraint in perpetuating the damaging rhetoric that demonizes our communities,” said Murguía. “Suffolk County mirrors the experience of many communities where hate, fostered on a national scale, has found a new home.”
“Certainly, President-elect Obama’s election speaks volumes about how far we’ve come as a nation; but, make no mistake, it signifies hope, not a final victory over prejudice and racial hostility, ” said Wade Henderson, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. “Certainly, in a nation of over 300 million people, there will always be a fearful few who can only find self-worth when they disparage and denigrate some group of people they see as different from themselves. We can’t legislate the heart and mind, but we can ensure that this segment is prevented from turning thought into action.”
“Words have consequences, and hateful words have hateful consequences. Mr. Lucero’s death is a direct consequence of the anger and hate spurred on by media outlets that mischaracterize all Latinos and the institutions that serve them as a threat to our country,” said Murguía.
“There is a direct connection between the tenor of the political debate and the daily lives of immigrants in our communities. It is no accident that, as the immigration debate has demonized immigrants as “invaders” who poison our communities with disease and criminality, haters have taken matters into their own hands and hate crimes against Latinos are on the rise for the fourth consecutive,” said Michael Lieberman, Washington Counsel, Anti-Defamation League.
These seven organizations are committed to working together to monitor incidents of hate crimes and hate rhetoric, to urge Congress to pass the Local Law Enforcement Hate
Crime Prevention Act and the media to cease resorting to bias and bigotry, and to increase tolerance and understanding among all communities.
To learn more about the code words of hate and what your community can do to combat hate speech, visit www.WeCanStopTheHate.org.
Tags: AAJC, ADL, Hilary Shelton, John Trasviña, Karen Narasaki, LCCR, Local Law Enforcement Hate, MALDEF, Marc H. Morial, Marcelo Lucero, Michael Lieberman, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, NCLR, the Anti-Defamation League, the Asian American Justice Center, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Urban League, Wade Henderson