And so now Jose Sucuzhanay, after lingering for days brain-dead in the hospital, is being transported to a final resting place in Ecuador, home to many tens of thousands who, like him, left that place to seek new beginnings in a land where a Statue of Liberty beckons the poor and striving.
But the Lady of the Harbor, still holding out her torch of hope, is surely distressed at the recent murders of Ecadorean immigrants by killers who targeted their victims because they were Latinos.
Striking and stunning here is that African-Americans were involved in the two latest incidents, in which both victims happen to have been from Ecuador.
Over the decades Ecuadoreans settled in Queens, especially Jackson Heights and Corona, and then Long Island and Brooklyn, where Sucuzhanay [photo] had climbed the ladder of success, starting a realty business and (in a way that is legendary in metro New York) achieving the American dream.
His attackers, who according to witnesses were African Americans, saw Sucuzhanay [pronounced Soo-koo-sha-nay] walking arm in arm in Bushwick, Brooklyn, with his brother with whom he had undertaken a happy round of wee-hour drinking, and the assailants visciously beat the two men with a metal bat as they yelled anti-gay and anti-Latino slurs.
A month earlier, an African American young man was among a gang of whites who fatally assaulted another Ecuadorean immigrant, this one on Long Island, in a bias attack.
There's all-too-common evil at work here, for certain; but surely also there is much soul-searching to be done, in all senses of the word, among African Americans in New York City.
For it is ironic to the enth degree that black men took part in these fatal attacks that bring to mind beatings, over many past decades, inflicted by racist whites on blacks in the United States.
The issue of surface antipathy to gays has been an ongoing one in the black community, and many leaders have been dealing with it since the advent of the AIDS crisis.
As for the Afro-Latino relationship, it is complex and much older than the one month during which we have experienced these recent tragedies.
But this is a time to be seized, to begin to explore avenues for overcoming that which is hurting and destroying. One hopes that in high schools and in other places there will be efforts in this direction.
On the other hand, in a postive way, the appropriately strong reaction on the part of officials to the killing of Sucuzhanay could, for the immediate future at least, temper whatever impulses beyond sheer evil were at play here.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes was quoted today by Newsday saying the following at Sunday's rally in Bushwick in memory of Sucuzhanay:
"[To Sucuzhanay's assailants:] You're going to be caught, you're going to be convicted and you'll go away for the rest of your life. The only way you'll get out of prison is in a box."