Paying Back Nueva Granda

On April 19, the Suffolk County jury handed a manslaughter verdict for the hate crime against Marcelo Lucero, a native of Ecuador. His killers were “beaner jumping” and searching for local Mexicans to physically assault, presumably to punish the former group of people for the effrontery of vegetarian diets in our land of obesity and the latter group for being Mexican, the majority of whom are working minimum wage service  jobs on Long Island. Few things are more irritating than a guy who wants to spend long hours washing dishes or mowing lawns for $7.25 an hour. Unable to locate a Mexican, and since all of us Hispanics look alike (where, oh where, have we heard that one before?), the killers stabbed Marcelo Lucero to death.

In an interview on NPR, Mr. Lucero’s brother stated that “we have to change the stereotype of Latinos”. To add our historical perspective, 18th century Ecuador was part of the Spanish province of Nueva Granada. Ecuadorians supported the Spanish war effort against the British in the Central American campaigns of 1780-1781. These war efforts re-directed resources that the British would have used against the North American Continental Army, which was struggling in the southern states.

21st Century Immigrants! Share your Story

As we know from studying the American Revolutionary War, immigrant experiences are as varied as the people involved.  While most of the immigrant stories in the 18th century were unrecorded, we can now share stories in ways that the earliest immigrants could never dream of.  Immigrant Connect Chicago is an online network for immigrants, their families and communities. Through individual stories, Immigrant Connect Chicago is crossing ethnic, cultural and generational lines and providing a forum for shared immigrant experiences in Chicago.  This ongoing project is coordinated through the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, with funding support from the Carnegie Corporation.

The site features a section to “Share Your Story” about your experiences as an immigrant, with suggested topics on learning the language, problems with “papers,” keeping the family together, fearing “the law,” connecting with back home, trying to get work, culture shocks, remembering the migration, and identity issues.

While it’s too late to hear personal narratives on these topics from 18th century immigrants who contributed to the American Revolutionary War – such as Alexander Hamilton (whose portrait is on the US $10 Bill), Jorge FarragutRobert MorrisOliver PollockThomas Paine, and Friedrich Von Steuben – there’s still time for you in the 21st century.  Please contribute your stories and memories.