LatinaLista — Today’s defeat of the Republican-authored amendment that would have forced federal officials to discount the presence of non-citizens in the 2010 US Census seems like a small tribute to the memory of Marcelo Lucero.
Defeating that amendment recognizes that people like Marcelo Lucero are a part of this country and their presence should not be overlooked, or in Marcelo’s case forgotten.
Marcelo was an Ecuadorian immigrant whose American Dream ended in a nightmare.
It was a year ago that the country discovered the awful truth of what some boys in Suffolk County, New York do for fun. By their own admission, they looked for Latinos, or beaners, as they called them and assaulted them for laughs.
It was Marcelo’s misfortune that he was this group’s next target. Yet, this time something went terribly wrong and Marcelo didn’t get to hobble away with a few bruises and broken bones, probably like the other men targeted, he was murdered in cold-blood.
Only today, one of the teens involved pled guilty.
Hausch, 18, pleaded guilty to four counts to settle a nine-count indictment, including conspiracy, gang assault, assault as a hate crime and attempted assault as a hate crime in the Nov. 8, 2008, killing of Marcelo Lucero.
It’s a small start on a long road for justice for Marcelo. While his murder horrifies decent human beings, the atmosphere that enabled those boys to think killing Latinos was OK, still exists.
We see it with cable news shows like Lou Dobbs, O’Reilly and Glen Beck and, hand-in-hand with those outlets, are the conservative radio talk shows.
These commentators don’t just voice their opinions on illegal immigration but they deliver them in such a way that it makes some listeners feel empowered and justified in shouting a racial slur or derogatory comment towards any person they perceive to be an undocumented immigrant walking down the street.
As an immigration reform bill takes shape, the rhetoric against non-citizen immigrants will only increase, as will, the animosity towards them. Chaos is bound to follow because people who feel empowered and justified will implement their own definition of justice as those boys did with Marcelo.
The thinking among the boys was that they could get away with assaulting Latinos but a few had the sense to know that murder crosses the line — but it only took one who didn’t have that same insight.
And that’s all it ever takes.