Tag: hate crimes

In Boston, Jews and Latinos Unite Against Anti-Immigrant Sentiment, Hate Crimes

News Briefs From New England Hispanic Newspapers

By Pedro Pizano, FI2W contributor

BOSTON, Massachusetts – Hispanic and Jewish groups have launched a joint campaign to stop “hate crimes targeting Latinos and the anti-immigrant rhetoric entering the mainstream.”

The Anti-Defamation League , representing the Jewish community, together with Latino Professional Network (LPN) recently organized a public event to announce the initiative.

Diego Portillo, the president of LPN who has lived in Boston for the past 10 years said, in an interview with El Planeta, that he has seen discrimination against Hispanic Immigrants increase in the past few years.

El Mundo reports that organizers claimed that hate mongers have rallied around situations such as the Swine Flu outbreak and the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, to demonize and scapegoat Latinos and other groups.

There will be periodical Latino/Jewish roundtables, starting in August, to advance partnerships between the Latino and Jewish communities. A “Declaration of Partnership” will be published next week, in both Spanish and English, in El Mundo .

New program from Children’s Hospital Boston aimed at the Latino Community

BOSTON, Massachusetts. Children’s Hospital Boston recently launched Milagros Para Niños (Miracles for Children) , the hospital’s first-ever fundraising campaign specifically aimed at the Latino community.

“This pioneering initiative aims to raise money and awareness to support Children’s clinical care and research for its increasingly diverse patient population,“ according to a news release from the hospital.

Out of 500,000 children that use the Hospital every year, 100,000 (20%) are Latino. At the Martha Eliot Health Center in Jamaica Plain, which is owned and operated by Children’s Hospital, 65% of the patients are Latino, according to El Mundo.

“The Latino community is very important for Children’s and we are proud to serve all families in need of our services,” said Sandra Fenwick, the hospital’s president and chief operating officer.

The fund-raising campaign will culminate with Children’s serving as the first-ever charitable partner for the Comcast Latino Family Festival at Fenway Park, which will be hosted by El Mundo Newspaper and the Boston Red Sox Foundation on Sunday, August 2nd, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

8th Massachusetts congressman to sponsor DREAM Act.

LYNN, Massachusetts. – Members of the Student Immigrant Movement met with Congressman John Tierney last Monday to discuss the DREAM Act. After the meeting Tierney agreed to co-sponsor the bill, according to Boston weekly Siglo21.

Tierney’s commitment brings to eight the number of Massachusetts congressional representatives sponsoring the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act . The act would provide a path to citizenship to about 65,000 undocumented young adults that have been in the U.S. for 5 years, have graduated from high school, and want to go to college or enlist for military service. They must also show proof of “good moral character.” (click to see USCIS (formerly INS) questionnaire to determine “moral character”). Additionally the DREAM Act would also return to states the authority to determine whether to grant in-state tuition to state residents regardless of immigration status.

As Hate Crimes Rise, Police Chiefs Call Immigration System an Obstacle to Prosecution

Law enforcement officials from around the country say that the current immigration system creates obstacles to their work because undocumented immigrants who are victims of hate crimes are often afraid to report them. The comments came in the same week that a civil rights organization reported that a hate crime occurs in the nation every hour on average and Attorney General Eric Holder called for updating the laws against those attacks.

The chiefs of police of communities in various states said Tuesday in a conference call that changes are needed to immigration laws to end the climate of insecurity and impunity, the Spanish news service Agencia Efe reported. The call included officials from Austin, Texas, North Charleston, N.C., and Topeka, Kansas.

“We need to reestablish trust in law enforcement,” said Art Acevedo, Austin police chief and the president of the National Latino Peace Officers Association.

“Our community is full of immigrants living in fear who therefore have doubts when the time comes to cooperate with the law,” he added.


Latinos in Pennsylvania Fearful After Teenagers Are Cleared of Serious Charges in Immigrant Death

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

There is fear among Latinos in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.

“The message the justice system sent to young white men here is that they can continue to beat up and kill Latinos, because in the end, a year in jail is all they will have to pay,” Jon Zamudio, a 26-year-old local resident, told New York newspaper El Diario/La Prensa.

Zamudio was referring to the verdict last week that cleared two local teenagers of the most serious charges in relation to the fatal beating of an undocumented Mexican immigrant last summer.

An all-white jury acquitted Brandon Piekarsky, 17, of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation, and Derrick Donchak, 19, of aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation, The Associated Press reported. Both were convicted of simple assault, a second-degree misdemeanor. They could be sentenced to one to two years in prison.

The victim was Luis Ramirez, a 25-year-old man originally from the Mexican state of Guanajuato. He worked at a factory and in the fields, picking strawberries and cherries. He lived with his American fiancee Crystal Dillman and had two children.



Cleared Of Charges, Conn. Priest Accuses Police of Racial Profiling and Harassment Against Hispanics

By Aswini Anburajan, FI2W reporter

Father James Manship, outside the New Haven courthouse - Photo: New Haven Independent.

Father James Manship, outside the New Haven courthouse. (Photo: New Haven Independent)

No sooner had prosecutors in Connecticut dropped charges of disorderly conduct and interfering with police activity against Rev. James Manship, than the Roman Catholic priest announced a campaign to have federal authorities look into charges of racial profiling and harassment of Hispanics by East Haven, Ct. police.

On the night of his arrest, Manship, of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in New Haven, had been videotaping police at a local store owned by Ecuadorean immigrants who had complained that police harassment of Hispanic customers had caused fear in their community and a sharp drop in business.

Manship videotaped police officers as they removed license plates from the walls of My Country Store. The owners claimed the plates were just there for decoration, while officers argued that the store owner had illegally bought them.

Officers told Manship to stop videotaping, and when he didn’t, they arrested him. The officers later claimed that Manship had been holding an “unknown shiny silver object,” which caused them to fear it was a gun, according to The New York Times.

However, a fifteen-second video clip released by Manship’s lawyers shows an officer asking Manship, “Is there a reason you have a camera on me?”


Alleged Killers of Ecuadorian Immigrant Indicted: Could Face Up To 78 Years In Prison

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Keith Phoenix - Photo: AP.

Keith Phoenix. (Photo: AP)

The men accused of killing Jose Sucuzhañay, the Ecuadorian immigrant beaten to death with a bottle and a baseball bat on a Brooklyn street last December, have been indicted under charges of murder as a hate crime and could face up to 78 years in prison.

Keith Phoenix, 28, and Hakim Scott, 25, were charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault, all of them as hate crimes.

On Dec. 7, Phoenix and Scott allegedly attacked Sucuzhañay and his brother Romel shouting anti-Hispanic and anti-gay slurs as the brothers walked home, hugging each other, after a party.

“The acts which we charge this morning are no less despicable because the victims Jose and Romel Sucuzhañay were not gay,” Brooklyn district attorney Charles Hynes said in announcing the indictments, according to The New York Times.

The December attack was the second against Ecuadoreans in the New York area in less than a month, after Marcelo Lucero was beaten to death by a group of high-school students in Patchogue, Long Island. Those arrested in that killing now stand charged with a rampage of attacks against Latinos in the area.


Teenagers Charged In Hispanic Man's Death Accused Of At Least Eight Other Attacks On Latinos

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

The Long Island youths accused of killing Ecuadoran immigrant Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue in November had been attacking Hispanics in the area for a year, authorities say. “They engaged in a regular and violent pastime: hunting for Hispanics to attack,” The New York Times reported.

The five L.I. teenagers accused of hate crimes against Hispanics.

Five of the seven L.I. teenagers accused of hate crimes against Hispanics. (Photo: New York Times)

“In small groups with shifting members, the teens sent one Hispanic man after another to the hospital with injuries,” added Newsday. The attackers were indicted Wednesday for eight more assaults or attempted assaults on Latino men.

The teenagers, students at Patchogue-Medford High School, are accused of beating a Hispanic man unconscious in July, taking his money and shoes. In December, three of them allegedly harassed another Hispanic man, swinging a pipe at him and telling him, “You’re dead.” In June, they allegedly attacked yet another man with a knife, cutting his clothes open. Newsday quoted Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota saying,

All of the defendants participated in what we consider to be a violent and racially driven pastime. (…) the defendants called their victims such things as ‘beaners’ and ‘wetbacks.’

“These charges demonstrate there is an epidemic of hate crimes against Latinos here,” Latino Justice attorney Jose Perez told the Daily News. “The vicious murder of Mr. Lucero wasn’t a random and isolated incident.”


New Attack On Hispanic Immigrants In New York Is Again Felt In Ecuador

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

For the second time in less than a month, an Ecuadorean immigrant was savagely attacked in New York by men shouting anti-Hispanic slurs. Once again, as with the death a month ago of Marcelo Lucero, the pain was felt among Hispanics in the United States and in faraway South America. The attack that left José Sucuzhañay brain-dead seems to confirm the rise in hate crimes pro-immigration advocates have been warning about since Lucero’s passing.

Daily News

José Sucuzhañay – Photo: Daily News

José and his brother Romel Sucuzhañay were attacked on a Brooklyn street last weekend by three men who allegedly shouted anti-Hispanic and anti-gay slurs while beating them with a bottle and a baseball bat. The brothers had been walking with their arms around each other.

José, 31, was declared brain-dead Tuesday at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, although his family was keeping him on life support until his parents and two children arrived from Ecuador.

“Today my brother is the victim, but tomorrow it could be your brother, your mother, your father,” another sibling, Diego Sucuzhañay, said Tuesday at a press conference outside the hospital.

According to the New York Daily News,

Diego said he had been talking with his parents in Ecuador by phone, telling them Jose “was okay.” But, he said, now “it’s time to tell them the truth.”

Thousands of miles away, Mercedes Quintuña, the Sucuzhañays’ mother, also spoke to the press.