arc of Marcello Lucero’s tragic death from a hate crime in 2008 that
rocked Patchogue evolved into a memorial and the unveiling of a Peace
Poll on Monday at the Carnegie Library with his brother Joselo Lucero
and several officials, friends, and others from peace organizations,
honoring the meaning of his life and its aftermath.
Uchida Friedberg, a stalwart supporter of Joselo during his grief and
member of the South Country Peace Group, was also honored posthumously
that day later at the Patchogue-Medford Library with a Peace Pole of
Patchogue got its own recognition as the first City of Peace on Long
people attended the event on the International Day of Peace sponsored
by the Patchogue-Medford Library that included a Peace Walk down Main
absolutely essential that young people do everything they can to
insure society’s inclusion,” said Joselo Lucero at the ceremony.
“My brother’s death created a new meaning in my life and while I
was going to schools to talk to students, I felt I was doing good.”
Lucero spoke of Friedberg’s support and commitment against racism as
did NYS Senator Monica Martinez (D-3rd Senate
District), a Salvador-American, who was an immigrant herself.
idea for the event began a year ago, said Patchogue-Medford Library
director Danielle Paisley. “John Baum reached out to me and was
looking for a partner to start planting Peace Poles,” she said.
“He wants to plant 100 on Long Island, but wanted to start right
here at home where he lived.”
approached Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue) about his idea for a Peace
Pole honoring Marcello Lucero. When discussing the location, the
Carnegie was chosen.
the flip side, Marian Russo’s mom passed away and she set up a
memorial fund for her mother, her mom volunteered at the library,”
Paisley explained. When Baum spoke to Paisley, Nina Friedberg’s name
came up as a natural for a second Peace Pole; she was a committed
Women in Black in Sayville and Bellport among other activities.
staff also had a lead up of events at the library including a
discussion of New
York Times 1619 Project.
credited Baum for his commitment to the idea.
a Patchogue resident since 1965, is a member of Pax Christi Long
Island (Pax Christi is a Catholic membership organization that rejects
war, its preparation, every form of violence and domination and
racism); the group is trying to get young people involved, he said.
decided the Peace Pole activity would draw them.” He traveled to The
Peace Sanctuary in Wassiac, New York, affiliated with the United
Nations. “They have a Peace Poll for everyone in the United
Nations,” he said. They also build them.
around the same time, Baum learned of a Rotary Club in Portland,
Oregon with the goal of planting 100 Peace Poles. That interaction led
to Baum’s learning about Rotary Clubs locally committing, via Rotary
Club International and their peace initiative, to plant poles on Long
Island. “The Rotary Club keeps track of the poles and created a
map,” he said, of the Pax Christi & Long Island and Long Island
Rotary Clubs Peace Pole Project.
“a youth group in Patchogue may get poles planted,” Baum said.
formed a Patchogue Peace Committee and hopes that youth groups will
get involved to have Long Island Cities recognized as Cities of Peace.
Patchogue is the first one to be cited. James Skidmore, who was at the
ceremony, is the chairperson for Patchogue: City of Peace Committee.
cited the Patchogue Rotary’s involvement; Patchogue Rotary president
Brian McAuliff spoke at the ceremony; at Nina Friedberg’s memorial,
Kevin Mann with Long Island Rotary Groups for Peace spoke.
organization involved with the movement representing Patchogue’s
honor is the International Cities of Peace; its mission is to evolve
peace building at the local level.
have a list of ten reasons why Patchogue should be recognized as a
city of peace, and to be recognized is an honor,” Baum said.