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From Long Island Wins: March 22, 2013

Hate Crimes: Then and Now

The murder of Marcelo Lucero lingers as a scar on Long Island’s conscience.

Four and a half years after the savage hate crime, we still struggle to understand how those involved in the attack could act with such horrific violence. And at the same time we struggle to understand the climate of anger towards immigrants from which this savagery emerged, a rising tide of hatred that clearly helped buoy the attackers to action. The attack was clearly a particularly brutal eruption of a very big problem and in a very real way, the angry teenagers who killed Marcelo Lucero are rightly serving prison sentences for the act, but they didn’t act alone.

Holding the guilty accountable while we account for the undeniable effects of the culture on them is a key theme of Susan Hagedorn’s compelling new documentary film Deputized. (Full disclosure: the foundation started by Susan’s late father has been a major funder to my employer, Long Island Wins).

Deputized – which you should go see the first chance you can, (a screening schedule is posted to www.deputizedmovie.com) — provides a much-needed reckoning, giving voice to countless perspectives on the attack (including the attackers and their families) while letting precisely no one off the hook for the attack and for the toxic culture that led to it.

What’s clear from this movie is that this debate is as alive today in this time and place as it’s ever been. The movie shows that the line between bullying and criminality, between provocation and action, is thinner than any of us would like to admit.

Nassau County hasn’t faced the strife on this issue that Suffolk has. And with comprehensive immigration reform receiving its most respectful hearing in ages in Washington these days, it seems like we might have already passed our moment of “peak hatred,” if you will, on immigration issues.

But the movie reminds us that the attacks took place at a moment of optimism as well – just days after the 2008 election of President Obama led many to believe that America had entered a new era of tolerance. The truth is that ugly facts present themselves even during hopeful times, and it’s up to us to take notice.

As Long Island Wins’ own Pat Young points out in the movie, one of the assailants said in his confession that the recurring recreational assaults on immigrants known as “beaner hopping” was a regular occurrence, even a banal one for the students in question. Specifically he said, “I don’t go out doing this very often, maybe only once a week.”

That so much violence was taking place with so little notice should shake our complacency about our new and supposedly better circumstances. See the movie. Join us in recognizing the depth of the challenges we face. And let’s get to work.

Maryann Sinclair Slutsky is the executive director of Long Island Wins, a nonprofit communications organization promoting commonsense policy solutions to local immigration issues. longislandwins.com.

 

News

Last year, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer stopped at Moby Drugs in Farmingdale to highlight the launch of a drug take-back program, which was designed to help residents remove addictive prescriptions out of their medicine cabinets. 

 

Yet, despite studies conducted by the Center for Disease Control—which found 70 percent of those addicted to prescription drugs get them from home, family or friends—federal regulations have prevented pharmacies in New York State from hosting the take-back program. 

Lt. Matt Komorowski of Farmingdale was recently honored with the first annual American Heroes award, for showing bravery when faced with impossible odds. 

 

On Sept. 11, 2001, Komorowski was one of  six FDNY firefighters with Ladder Co. 6, called to the World Trade Center just a short while before the tower collapsed. Arriving at the scene, Komorowski and the members of his ladder company rushed inside the building. As they rushed up the stairs the men of Ladder 6 stopped to assist Josephine Harris, a then 60-year-old Brooklyn grandmother, who was stuck in the stairwell of the building. 


Sports

 

The 2014 Farmingdale Flag Football season kicked off with a blast on Sept. 7.

 

3rd Grade Division

 

The Texans and the Jets played a great opening weekend game, with the Texans getting the victory.  For the Texans, touchdown pass from Joseph Spano to Jaxon Parisi with 20 seconds in the half broke a tie that the Jets never came back from.  The Jets were led by Brendan O’Keefe, who had two rushing touchdowns and Jimmy Caputo, who picked off a pass at the goal line.

 

Farmingdale State College’s women’s tennis team opened the 2014 season with an 8-1 victory over John Jay College (0-1) on Sept. 3. The Rams (1-0) held a 2-1 advantage after doubles play before sweeping the singles matches.


Calendar

Board of Education - September 17

A Town of the Taste - September 18

Evening with Jeffery Wands - September 19


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com