remembering the hate crime murder of joseph ileto, ten years later

Next month marks the tenth anniversary of the hate crime murder of Joseph Ileto. On August 10, 1999, white supremacist Buford O. Furrow, Jr. walked into the lobby of the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills, California and opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon, unloading 70 shots into the complex and wounding five people.

Shortly thereafter, Furrow murdered postal worker Joseph Santos Ileto in Chatsworth, a few miles away from the center. Ileto had just delivered mail to a home and was returning to his postal truck when Furrow asked Ileto to mail a letter for him. As Ileto agreed, Furrow pulled out a Glock 9mm handgun and shot Ileto nine times.

Later, Furrow confessed that he murdered Ileto because he thought Ileto was Latino or Asian (Ileto was Filipino American), and because Ileto was a federal employee. Furrow also stated that he wanted his shooting to be "a wakeup call to America to kill Jews."

Ten years later, how far has our community come, and what is left to be done in addressing hate? To remember Ileto's death, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center is organizing a press conference and memorial service next month. Here's some information that was passed along to me:
On behalf of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and the family of Joseph Ileto, you are invited to attend the 10th Annual Commemorative Event for Joseph Ileto and the North Valley Jewish Community Center Victims. This very special event will be held on Monday, August 10, 2009, from 9:30AM - 1:00PM at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center's newly renovated community room.

This year, we will pay tribute to Filipino American postal carrier, Joseph Ileto, who was brutally and senselessly killed ten years ago by a white supremacist, and to the five children and adults who were also shot and severely wounded on the same day at the North Valley Jewish Community Center. We are holding a press conference on the day of the shooting at 10:00AM where the Ileto family and victims of the NVJCC will have an opportunity to reflect on the past 10 years. After the press conference, a memorial service will be held in honor of Joseph Ileto and we will highlight the accomplishments and activism around hate crimes prevention work.

Please RSVP with Shukry Cattan at 213-241-0269 or scattan@apalc.org.
They're also collecting letters from community members to share how the death of Joseph and the work of the Ileto family after his death, has affected individuals and groups. You can submit a letter using this form.

They'll present the letters to the Ileto family on August 10, the anniversary of Joseph's passing. Write as little or as much as you want, but of course, please be respectful.

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