Thoughts From Recent Screenings of Deputized

Deputized is a documentary on the 2008 hate crime murder of Marcelo Lucero.
Deputized is a documentary on the 2008 hate crime murder of Marcelo Lucero.

This week has been a hectic one for me. With the 5th anniversary of the killing of Marcelo Lucero approaching next month, I was involved in three showings of the documentary about his murder. Although the film, called Deputized, was on WLIW Channel 21 in September, interest in it has not abated.

Sunday I was on a panel at the Holocaust Memorial in Glen Cove for a showing of a unique version of the film cut by Marcelo’s brother, Joselo Lucero. I really liked it. It is an hour long and groups may want to invite Joselo to show the film and speak afterwards. The power of the film was evident when nearly everyone at the screening stayed for what had been billed as a 30 minute discussion, but which turned into an hour and a half of real conversation about hatred on Long Island. Several people said that the film belongs in our high school and middle school classrooms.

Monday night I showed the longer version of the film to my law school class at Hofstra. Most of my students are from outside of the New York area and a lot of them were shocked that politicians in Suffolk routinely scapegoated immigrants. I also find that my students, like most viewers from outside Long Island, were less willing to accept the segregation by race and ethnicity that so many Long Islanders take for granted.

Then on Tuesday night, I spoke after a showing of the full version of the film at Touro Law School. One of my former students, Erick Marroquin, hosted the program. After an hour of students asking about the film, I asked them for their reaction to it as a movie. I jotted down a few of their remarks.

One student said the documentary was “very inspiring.” He told me that while it was about a hate crime, it showed the lives of the undocumented immigrants in a realistic way. His family had come to the U.S. from Central America and while he is now a college graduate and pursuing a career in law, he lived like the Latinos in the film did for years. “It puts a face on what we go through,” he said.

Another student said that the interviews with the high school students in the film were an “eye opener.” “It tells me where the bias starts,” he added.

CARECEN will be honoring Sue Hagedorn, the producer of Deputized, on November 21 at our Annual Dinner. If anyone wants to show the film, they can contact Long Island Wins. I am happy to speak after it if I can fit it into my schedule.