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Positive movement in Suffolk to address hate crime

See Newsday article at bottom…

It appears that some politicians in Suffolk County are starting to get the message that they have to change their positions, be on guard against hate crime, and also become part of the solution. I am guessing that the reasons include: personal epiphanies after the death of Marcelo Lucero, the outcry and public opinion after Marcelo Lucero, and maybe, also, the fact that the New York State District Attorney is going to investigate our crime statistics. Either way, positive change is good. Let’s keep watching and keep the pressure on.

One concern I have is that Newsday says this commission will include members “appointed by the legislature, police department, county executive, district attorney, local clergy and school districts.” Every single one of those groups, except perhaps the clergy, was a huge part of the problem leading to the environment of hate towards immigrants. And, the clergy is an institution which we should be cautious of when combined with government, because it sometimes trades resources with and sometimes gives cover for government.

It would probably be important to get someone on that commission who was part of the clear outcry and dissent. Get someone on the panel who is one of the “activists” who are acknowledged in various reports to be the people who pushed for something to be done. I am not sure how to accomplish that. Maybe next time there is a march, they should hand out applications for a raffle to be on the panel?!

(excerpt from) Newsday
Pol: Create panel to study Suffolk hate crime data
By Reid J. Epstein / December 3, 2008

The Suffolk Legislature should create a task force to investigate the county’s official hate crime statistics, Legis. DuWayne Gregory said yesterday.

Gregory (D-Amityville) said he will introduce legislation later this month to create a 12-member panel to study Suffolk police statistics, which show anti-Hispanic hate crimes fell from 15 in 2004 to one in 2007…

The task force would include members appointed by the legislature, police department, county executive, district attorney, local clergy and school districts…

Legis. Jack Eddington (I-Medford), chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said he would work with Gregory to create the task force. Eddington said he was unaware that teenagers in his district regularly targeted Hispanic men to beat up, as police have reported since Lucero’s death. “I thought this was an isolated incident of some real stupid kids,” he said. “Now I’m hearing there’s a history of this kind of behavior, and I was not aware of that.”…

During the legislature’s public portion, more than three dozen activists urged lawmakers to disavow laws requiring contractors doing county business and the county’s 17,000 licensees to verify their employees’ legal working status.

Omar Henriquez, a member of the AFL-CIO’s Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, said legislators have a chance to make things right with Hispanic and immigrant communities. ” … Those who previously proposed and supported anti-immigration ordinances must take responsibility and admit that they were on the wrong track,” he said…

The full story is: here.

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