11/20/08

The Hispanic Coalition of LI Responds to the Hate Killing of Marcelo Lucero

The following is a translation of The Hispanic Coalition of Long Island's opinion piece (Coalición responde a muerte de Lucero) published in today's El Diario.
En Español
It is with deep sorrow and renewed determination that The Hispanic Coalition of Long Island responds to the recent brutal and racially motivated murder of an innocent man, the Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero.

The act is still more horrendous when we consider that it was perpetrated by children…a group of adolescents…that, for complex reasons, felt that hunting people who looked "Mexican" was viable option. In a society we believe to be civilized, where is that the children learn that hatred, racism, and violence are options? How sad that an innocent life has been taken without cause, that so many lives have been permanently damaged, and that in the process, the youths have done great harm to themselves, their families, and their community.

Above all, our coalition desires to extend our sincere condolences to the Lucero family and to offer our support and services to them in their hour of need. We also give thanks to all of the leaders that have fought for justice over the years, advocating for the many voiceless immigrants.

We give thanks to community leaders and elected officials that have responded to this tragedy by attempting to build bridges of understanding and acceptance, instead of settling for mere tolerance, and community for all, instead of the exclusion and marginalization of some.

The Hispanic Coalition of Long Island represents the majority of the professional human services that are provided to the fast-growing Hispanic populations of Nassau and Suffolk counties. Our mission is to promote the advancement of the Hispanic community, with a focus on economic betterment, political empowerment, and strengthened public commitment towards improving the quality of life for all of Long Island's families and children.

Suffolk County needs a new, realistic and humane direction. It needs a new approach that recognizes the changes that have taken place, and that provides a compassionate and just solution to the challenges of a diverse society. History has taught us that change cannot be prevented. It teaches us as well that social and economic marginalization, and the exploitation of a group of people, always ends in violence.

Our coalition is opposed to any legislation and policies that marginalize immigrants and promote the abuse of immigrants and their children (our new citizens). We oppose any politician who lacks compassion and who fails to support policies that seek to promote understanding and equality.

Additionally, it is the belief of the members of the coalition that racism is based on ignorance and fear, which children are taught at home – subtly or not so subtly. Parents and other adults need to be educated on diversity and the complex reality of today's world. We recommend that schools work to educate parents on multicultural communications, diversity and acceptance, so that they, in turn, will be better prepared to provide their children with a timely perspective, guidance, and solutions to the challenges caused by differences and societal changes.

María Elisa Cuadra, President, Hispanic Coalition of Long Island and Executive Director, COPAY Inc. Great Neck.
Gil Bernardino, Executive Director, Círculo de la Hispanidad, Long Beach and Hempstead.
Pascual Blanco, Executive Director, La Fuerza Unidad, Glen Cove.
José Calderón, Vice President, The Hispanic Federation New York, NY and Washington, DC.
Miriam García, Executive Director, Adelante of Suffolk County, Brentwood.
Margarita Grasing, Executive Director, Hispanic Brotherhood, Rockville Centre.
Nadia Marín-Molina, Executive Director, Workplace Project, Hempstead.
Gladys Serrano, Executive Director, Hispanic Counseling, Bayshore and Hempstead.
George Siberon, Executive Director, Hempstead Hispanic Civic Association.
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