Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Action Alert: Help Pass National hate crimes legislation now!


Thank You

On the one-year anniversary of Luis Ramirez's death, the families of hate crime victims ask you to join their call for justice.

On July 14, 2008, Luis Ramirez died after a group of teenagers hurled racial epithets and brutally beat him in Shenandoah, PA, ending with a fatal kick to his head. The Luis Ramirez family would like to thank you for your support and actions you've taken to seek justice for this loving father, son, partner, friend, and hard-worker. His family continues to deeply suffer their loss.

Exacerbating the Ramirez family's anguish is the miscarriage of justice in Luis' case. Despite the evidence of a hate-driven attack, two of the assailants accused of beating Luis were found not guilty of murder, ethnic intimidation and other serious crimes, and were sentenced to only six months in prison for simple assault. Luis is not the only victim and will not be the last, unless we all continue to take action.

Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate will begin debate on the hate crimes legislation aimed at strengthening federal laws protecting against hate-motivated crimes. The Ramirez family requests that, in commemoration of Luis Ramirez, you contact your Senator to demand that they vote "yes" on the Mathew Sheppard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.


The wave of hate crimes against Latinos includes young and old, citizens and non-citizens, women and men, and a spectrum of national origins - the victims are selected on only one basis - their Latino appearance. Do not wait to take action until the next victim is your brother, aunt, father, abuelita, or other relative or friend- the time to act is now!


Why the urgency? Hate-driven crimes against Latinos have risen 40% across the country since 2003.
  • One year ago, 17-year-old Robert Cantu was attacked with a noose wrapped around his neck by a group of teenagers in Ohio who said they were "going fishing" for "n******". Robert lives in Ohio, is a U.S. citizen, and is Mexican-American.
  • Last November, 37-year-old Marcelo Lucero was ferociously beaten and fatally stabbed in Long Island, New York by a group of teenagers who claimed they were going "beaner jumping." Marcelo lived in New York and was Ecuadorian.
  • Only one month later, we mourned the murder of Jose Osvaldo Sucuzhañay, whose life was violently taken by a group of people whose crime was motivated by hate-filled bigotry. Jose was a businessman of Ecuadorian decent with established roots in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Recently, two Chilean college students were shot to death in Miramar Beach, Florida, where they worked as part of an international foreign exchange program. The killer had reportedly told a neighbor to get "ready for the revolution to begin" and to get rid of "any immigrants inside [her] house."
  • On the morning of this past 4th of July, Maria Guadarrama, a 45-year old woman of Orange County, CA was stabbed and robbed by two men with swastika tattoos who yelled racial epithets during the attack.
How many more deaths and victims does the Senate need to pass this critical, common-sense legislation? This is a national epidemic whose growth is spurred each day by hate speech, distortion of facts, and anti-immigrant sentiment expressed through the media and irresponsible politicians.


Please join the Ramirez, Sucuzhanay, Lucero, and Cantu families in calling upon the Senate to pass national hate crimes legislation now!


Gladys Limón
Staff Attorney

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