Editor’s Note: The Make America Love Again event is being organized by a committee made up of several Patchogue residents.
As Donald Trump is speaking at a Suffolk County Republican Committee fundraiser Thursday at The Emporium in Patchogue, a fundraiser of a different sort will be taking place at another venue in the village.
The Make America Love Again Rally, which starts at 5 p.m. at 89 North Music Venue — the same time as Trump’s expected arrival — is being billed as an event that will emphasize and celebrate the village’s and the country’s diverse heritage.
It will also raise money for the Marcelo Lucero Award, named for the Ecuadorean immigrant who was killed by a group of teens in a 2008 hate crime on Railroad Avenue, not far from The Emporium.
“We’re just trying to take something that’s very painful in this community and turn it into something positive, to use it as a fundraiser and promote unity,” said Jen Cotter of Patchogue Village, who is helping organize the event with her husband, Peter.
The Cotters said the rally will draw a contrast between not only negative remarks Trump has made about immigrants on the campaign trail, but how Patchogue and the surrounding areas are depicted in the wider news media.
“We’re so lucky,” Peter Cotters said. “We’re fortunate to have this diverse community.”
Both were highly critical of the committee’s decision to invite Trump to the fundraiser at The Emporium, which regularly hosts events for Suffolk Republicans
“To actually come to the street where this murder happened, which was the result of kids who sat around their kitchen tables listening to the same type of nativist rhetoric [as Donald Trump], it’s just so hurtful,” said Jen Cotter.
Peter Cotter, also a former president of Blue Point Brewing Company, noted that the brewery on River Avenue in Patchogue had organized a fundraiser for the Lucero family in 2008 as well, mainly to help his mother get back and forth to the U.S. for funeral services. Thursday’s event will be similar in spirit.
They expect the rally to sell out quickly.
“These people in the Latino community are our neighbors,” he said.
“We want them to know that we are standing shoulder to shoulder with them.”
The Marcelo Lucero Award recognizes a student-created short video that shows the importance of nonviolence and anti-bullying behavior and promotes respect for differences, human rights and/or fostering community-building both in and out of school.
The scholarship is presented to a student at Patchogue-Medford H.S. and internationally to a selected young filmmaker whose work is part of the United Nations Plural+ Film Festival FERA.