These were our neighbors, from down the block. They are part of Leesburg's small, but visible, hispanic community. Recently, a member of their community was the victim of a terrible murder on our streets. A crime of passion over a failed relationship.
The hispanic community in America, and here in Loudoun, has been under siege for a while. The 2007 elections saw appeals to baseless fear of the "other" who does not look or talk like us. Our neighbors to the south in Prince William are busy wasting what little money is in the county coffers hunting for people whose only crime is seeking a better life for their families (the very same thing that brought the vast majority of new people to Loudoun over the past twenty years). And it was not too long ago that the Federal Government sought to make the very act of helping a migrant a crime, turning many of the community resources, like churches, depended on by the so many immigrants, the vast majority of them legal, into potential INS checkpoints. The victim was among that legal majority, though that fact should not, and does not change our horror at his death.
Santos-Machado was in Loudoun on a valid work visa, Simpson said. Most of the victim's family members, including two children, are still living in El Salvador. - Leesburg TodayThe Leesburg hispanic community is relatively small and concentrated in one part of town. This is a community that values direct interation with friends and neighbors, a community that walks miles to and from jobs and makes it a point to get together and be a community at every opportunity. It is this community that saw one of its own, a success story, a legal migrant who had bought his own home and sent money back to build two more for his family in El Salvador, murdered, in cold blood, on our streets.
Place yourself in this community for just a moment. Imagine you are on a foreign land, among a small expatriot community in a country that really didn't like you (say, Russia). Though your presence was tolerated, every election cycle opportunistic politicians gin up anger against you for being different. Imagine a few years ago, a law was nearly passed prohibiting the branch of McLean Bible Church that had opened in your city from helping you when you were in trouble. And now imagine one of your own was murdered, by another from your community.
Imagine how that would make you feel. Imagine how the Russians around you would react. Imagine you do not feel safe going to church to grieve with your community, you do not feel comfortable talking to the authorities about what happened.
Imagine that, and perhaps standing, in the dark, in the rain, talking with some of your friends may seem like the best thing you can do.