Anti-Latino Hate Crime Skyrockets

Baltimore: Martin Rayez, 51, is beaten to death with a piece of wood by a man who told police he “hated Hispanics.”

Maricopa County, Arizona: A man shoots Juan Varela in the neck after yelling at him: “Hurry up and go back to Mexico or you’re gonna die.” Varela was a third-generation, native-born American.

Summit, NJ: Abelino Mazeriego, a married father of four who had been siting on a park bench after his shift at an Indian restaurant, is severely beaten by two teenagers while a third records it. As the video goes viral among the affluent city’s teens, Mazariego dies of severe head trauma.

Staten Island: A string of assaults on Mexican Americans helps New York City more than double its hate crime rate.

A Timeline of Intolerance

What do all these incidents have in common? They are all hate crimes and all happened in 2010—the year that saw Latinos targeted more than any other ethnicity in such incidents, according to the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics report released this week. 66.6 percent of victims of ethnically motivated hate crimes “were targeted because of an anti-Hispanic bias.” There were 747 victims of anti-Latino incidents, up sharply from 2003, when there were 595 victims, or 44.9 percent. 

The increase in anti-Latino hate crime comes despite only a slight increase in hate crimes in general, up from 6,6604 in 2009 to 6,628 in 2010, according to the FBO.

But Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project still believes that the number is low, because many Latino immigrants refuse to report assaults and other ethnically motivated crimes against them for fear of deportation.

If you’d like to get involved in the fight against Hate Crimes you can contact and join any of the following organizations:

Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation’s leading non-profit Latino legal organization. Often described as the “law firm of the Latino community,” MALDEF promotes equality and justice through litigation, advocacy, public policy, and community education in the areas of employment, immigrants’ rights, voting rights, education, and language rights.

The Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded in 1971 as a small civil rights law firm. Today, SPLC is internationally known for its tolerance education programs, its legal victories against white supremacists and it’s tracking of hate groups.

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About this author

Damarys Ocaña Perez,

Damarys Ocaña Perez is Director of Editorial Content at Latina Media Ventures. She leads its magazine, Latina, the pre-eminent beauty, fashion, culture and lifestyle magazine for acculturated U.S. Hispanic women and is responsible for maintaining Latina’s voice, vision and mission across all LMV platforms. Born in Havana and raised in Miami, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

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