Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness

In 2008 in Patchogue, NY, a series of attacks against Latino residents ended with the killing of 37-year-old Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who had lived there for 13 years. Seven local high school students arrested for the crime admitted they were “looking for a Mexican” to beat up.

Over a two-year period, the film follows Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri as he leads a diverse group of residents to confront the anti-immigrant bias in their town.

The victim’s brother, Joselo Lucero, and other Latino residents became leading voices for immigrants while working within the community to address local divisions. Faith leaders mobilize their congregations, and educators and school administrators develop anti-bias programs.

The Suffolk County Police Department assigns two Spanish-speaking officers to Patchogue, including Officer Lola Quesada. Lola also attends public meetings as a liaison between the immigrant community and the police. As community liaison, Lola appears on talk radio to inform immigrants about their rights and encourage them to report hate attacks to police.

A week before Marcelo Lucero’s murder, librarian assistant Gilda Ramos and librarian Jean Kaleda learned that people were afraid to attend evening ESL classes at the library for fear of being attacked at night. Kaleda and Ramos call for community meetings and create a safe space at the library for the community to heal after the murder.

Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness
Wednesday, September 21, 10:00 pm, WOSU TV
Thursday, September 22, 3:00 am, WOSU TV
Thursday, September 22, 10:00 pm, WOSU PLUS

This program ties in nicely with The Ohio State University’s coordination of university-wide conversations called “Conversations on Morality, Politics, and Society”:

From Where I Stand: Discussion on Immigration

President E. Gordon Gee
September 17, 2011

“As the students return to campus, Ohio State will launch a year-long Conversation on Immigration. We will bring together scholars, public officials, thought leaders, and the public for an unprecedented dialogue on the issues and complexities of immigration. Over the course of more than nine months, we will explore immigration and its history, its impact on people and cultures, and how it has transformed the Midwest and the country.” Keep reading…