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Rev. Wolter: Donald Trump visit inappropriate for Patchogue Village

Dwight-Wolter-Trump

Donald Trump has been invited to Patchogue, Long Island, on Thursday, April 14, for a “fundraiser reception” sponsored by the Suffolk County Republican Committee at The Emporium nightclub, which has already been connected to multiple reported acts of violence. 

The Emporium is on the same street — Railroad Avenue — as the hate crime murder of an undocumented Ecuadorian immigrant, Marcelo Lucero, at the hands of seven teenagers from the local high school. The Emporium is also around the corner from the Congregational Church of Patchogue, where Lucero’s funeral was held, and over which I presided. A few days later, the church also hosted, in cooperation with Hispanics Across America, a sanctuary space where alleged hate crime victims were invited to anonymously tell their stories.

The portable hard drive of the testimonies was recorded by a PBS affiliate reporter. Days later, the portable hard drive was seized as evidence in a grand jury investigation into alleged civil and human rights  violations. This immigration and hate crime nightmare garnered national headlines and spurred a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation; two nationally-distributed documentary films (one on PBS); a book by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author (Mirta Ojito); and much more.

The effects of this tragedy are still felt in this community and around the country, seven years later.

Agree with him or not, Donald Trump is an advocate of building walls; the mass deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants; and the banning of Muslims from entering the country. The appearance of a candidate with such views in a community still recovering from overt acts of violence and hate creates a clear and present danger to the community.

I am a strong advocate of free speech. But I am also a strong advocate of not fanning the embers of fear, hate, racism and potential violence that are already present and growing on social media sites and elsewhere by pro-and-anti-Trump people in regards to this impending visit.

Therefore, I strongly request that the Suffolk County Republican Committee and Chairman LaValle rescind their gala with Mr. Trump — or at least move it to a venue or community with less of a hate crime circus atmosphere and history.

This may seem like a local issue to you — but that is what this community thought a few years ago as well before the story exploded onto the national and international scene.  Hopefully, this is merely deja vu; and not prophecy.


“Silence and nonviolence are powerful and effective weapons for which you do not need a permit to carry, conceal or reveal.” – Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter

“What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?” – Elvis Costello

an invitation

FROM HATE SPEECH TO SILENT SPEECH

A 15 Minute Silent Rally & Vigil for Peace, Love & Understanding

in response to Donald Trump’s impending visit 

to Patchogue, Long Island

Thursday, April 14, at 4:30 sharp

The Congregational Church of Patchogue, 95 East Main Street

About the author: Dwight Wolter

Dwight Lee Wolter is pastor of The Congregational Church of Patchogue at 95 East Main Street in Patchogue, N.Y. He blogs at dwightleewolter.com.