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Hate Crimes Against Latinos Rise in Pennsylvania

El Diario/La Prensa, Posted: Aug 16, 2008

NEW YORKWith increasing frequency, Latino residents of Pennsylvania like Vicente Mercado, a Mexican gardener in Hazleton, feel they are the object of racial hatred, because they look Latino. When I enter a place where there are whites, I feel attacked by all the looks I get." According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that monitors hate crimes, Mercado and other Latinos in Pennsylvania are victims of a racial climate that has resulted in a significant increase in hate crimes since 2006. This year alone has already registered 19 hate crimes compared with a total of 16 in all of 2007 and 15 in 2006. Latinos like Mercado and Luis Ramirez, the 25-year-old Mexican man killed by 3 white males in Shenandoah, represent only 5 percent of the population of the Quaker state, but are the majority of the victims of hate crimes.


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