By Samantha Lujan
Recognizing the urgency of getting the word out about hate crimes, members of the multicultural affairs club hosted a session at Babylon Student Center on that topic Wednesday Feb. 11.
Detective Janet Cassidy of the Suffolk County Police Department addressed an audience of about 20-25 people, where she discussed hate crimes not only in Suffolk County but also here in our community.
A hate crime is any violation of law against property or person.
“It could be race, nationality, color, ancestry, gender-female or male, sexual orientation, that being straight or gay, disability, age, religion and religious practice,” Cassidy, said.
Many questions have emerged due to the latest reports of hate crimes inflicted upon Ecuadorian immigrants in Patchogue and the murder of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero, 38. On Nov. 8, seven Patchogue-Medford high school students attacked Lucero fatally stabbing him in the chest. Other charges regarding other immigrants that were assaulted have recently been added. Consequently, a month later Jose O. Sucuzhañay and his brother both from Ecuador were brutally beaten with a baseball bat by two men who shouted anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs. A week later he was pronounced dead at the Elmhurst Hospital Center.
Hate crimes do not necessarily have to be physical assaults. Other actions such as damage to property, verbal abuse or insults, offensive graffiti or letters are also classified as hate crimes.
Even if you have committed such a crime over the phone, you can still be caught. An investigative tool that is available for everyone to use is # 57. You can trace a call but just as you get charged for text messages, you might get charged a fee for dialing it depending on your cell phone carrier. The only time you can use such a method is if you are a victim of phone harassment, not because you have a curiosity to find out who is calling you.
“Graffiti is any mark you don’t have permission to make,” Cassidy said
Graffiti that has been unlawfully done, meaning with out the permission to do it can lead to the arrest or imprisonment, fine and or community service.
“Hate crimes do more than threaten the safety and welfare of all citizens. They inflict on victims incalculable physical and emotional damage and tear at the very fabric of a free society.”
This quote appeared on a power point presentation during the meeting.
Photos and criminal charges also were presented through a power point presentation. Cassidy spoke of gang-related activity and its role in society and in hate crimes in particular.
Perception has also a lot to do with how we all interact with people. The way we see someone and the way we make assumptions makes us believe certain things that are not true.
“Sometimes it’s something as simple as not getting along with somebody, stereotyping,” Cassidy said.
A hate crime in Farmingville several years ago sparked the production of a documentary film called “Farmingville”. The producers Catherine Tambini and Carlos Sandoval decided to live in Farmingville for about a year. They wanted to create a documentary that would discuss the events surrounding two day laborers who were beaten by two men who were white supremacists. Also, the film’s goal was to show the challenges that communities face due to the increasing population of Latinos and the challenges that Hispanic immigrants face each and every day.
“It makes us feel insecure about where we live,” said Falak Akhter, a student who attended the hate crimes presentation, when asked how she thinks hate crimes affect us.
Hate and bias related crimes affect greatly not only our community but also our nation. Suffolk County Police and Suffolk County Community College have decided to take a step towards ending hate and bias crimes by providing such workshops that teach and inform Students and Faculty.
“I think that hate crimes are huge. We are living in a climate where there is misinformation and misunderstanding between people in general,” said Stacey Brown, coordinator of multicultural affairs.
“The only thing necessary for triumph of evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing,” stated a quote from Irish political statesman Edmund Burke that was displayed through powerpoint as the presentation drew near its close.