Patricia NicolasNov 6, 2016, 9:27 pmNov 7, 2016, 8:57 pm

Vigil for man killed in 2008 hate crime focuses on creating space for cultural diversity

Patchogue organizers say rhetoric against immigrants is pervasive, fosters hate

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Patchogue community members united under the message of love and peace during the 8th annual vigil for Ecuadorian-born Marcelo Lucero who was killed in a 2008 hate crime.

Eight years ago, seven teenagers fatally attacked the 37-year-old immigrant. Those teens were convicted of gang assault.

Lucero’s brother, Arthur Arroyo, says the vigil is needed this year more than ever as anti-immigrant sentiments swirl around the 2016 presidential election.

“In 2016…that rhetoric that you think was disappearing, it’s appearing in huge numbers,” Arroyo said.

For Arthur Arroyo, the vigil hits home. The Mexican-American says he remembers the day when his classmates realized he was different.

“Three kids threw rocks at me off the bus saying, ‘you dirty Mexican, your family is bringing down the property value,’ and I remember how I felt,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo says he now tries to help immigrants, documented or not.

This year’s vigil brought together different cultures within Patchogue and the surrounding community for mediation and reflection. Many hope this event will bring peace.

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