in 1991, in the rapidly changing immigrant community of Corona, Queens, NYC 19 year old son of Dominican immigrants, Manny Mayi Jr. was beaten to death.
Last year, Marcelo Lucero was killed.
At the start of the new year Wilter Sanchez was nearly killed.
In February of this year Jose Sucuzhañay, an Ecuadorian immigrant was beaten to death.
And most recently, Luis Ramirez was beaten and killed and those accused got away with murder.
I could go through recent and not so recent history and clearly see a pattern and practice of hate that has been growing. A pattern and practice of racism, nativism, fueled by the media and government, eaten up by the mainstream public.
People in Shenandoah celebrated, went out into the streets and rejoiced after an all-white jury found Brandon J. Piekarsky, 17, and Derrick M. Donchak, 19, guilty of lesser charges and acquitted them of criminal homicide and aggravated assault.
And then people have the nerve to ask why are more Latinos not more active in the fight for immigration change?
This is not just about laws, this about lives.
So what do we as a community do?
18 fucking years.
Federal investigations and federal hate crimes legislation will not bring sons and daughters like Angie Zapata back. Civil rights statutes do not equal justice against individuals and a society that sends the message that our lives are worth less because of what we look like, how we speak, and where we come from. Pero, they are weapons people can get behind in addition to other strategies.
MALDEF has a petition that all people should get behind. It asks that the United States Department of Justice to intervene and conduct an independent and comprehensive investigation of the brutal murder of Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.
It is not the answer. It will not save our lives and the lives of our children. That HAS to happen on multiple fronts that include direct action, legal action, media strategies and education.
Think of all the mothers without their children this coming Sunday, Mother’s Day.
Sign the petition . Our lives cannot wait.