Some events in life can change a person dramatically and these experiences we can carry for a lifetime. It has been about ten months since I found myself preparing for an upcoming trial I assumed would be March 2019 for an incident which occurred at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center at Smyrna, Delaware on February 1st, 2017. Seventeen individuals held accountable for a disturbance which left one officer dead. That day of February was a day I will remember forever and the aftermath was no pleasant memory.
Still to this day, the corruption by prosecutors and the Department of Corrections are being observed, but to deaf ears and blind individuals which believe themselves to be law abiding citizens and true Americans upholding a system which has only tormented and broken individuals outside of their circle and agenda. Some do not agree with my opinion or idealism, but that is left up to discussion.
Truth is, I believed the Delaware Department of Corrections is the most corrupt, but I’ve come to learn that all of America’s Department of Corrections are unstable and unjust.
When I look back and reflect on the events of the past, the hurt and pains, struggles and hardships, I would not be a better man today. That came from the comradery and genuine brotherhood we shared as Vaughn Seventeen. We were not perfect and may have our issues, but at the end, we stood for each other wholeheartedly. Maybe not for the same reasons, but whatever that may be, it was together. There were genuine sacrifices for each other, and respect was earned and not one day passes I don’t think on the casualties of our battles. Men I’ve come to love and respect as my family and my brothers.
We should never forget those individuals who were crucified by society for hope in a better tomorrow, a better system for all and for truth.
The prison culture teaches us to be tough, cruel and selfish to survive. However, may we inspire a new culture not of color, race, status, etc, but one of brotherhood.
The powers that be will not let the events of February, 2017 go forgotten, however, let those powers know that the true power lies with the people. In war, there will always be casualties, however, does one life surpass another? Are we not equal in the eyes of God? Without the rage in our hearts, would our system ever progress? America’s history speaks volumes; progression came from change and that came from the people. People like you and me that say, “Fuck that! This shit ain’t right.” That’s the revolution my friends: sudden, radical, complete change. It starts in our own hearts and minds. Whether in prison or not. Revolution starts when one system is conducting something improper. Throughout time, the people continue that same idea in different shapes and forms.
What we do is important. How we carry ourselves, treat others and behave. You cannot stand against a corrupt system if you corrupt others and yourself. These are only my opinions, my words that have been presented by trial and error. I, myself, am no Che Guevarra or George Jackson, however, I respect the stories of our past leaders from all sides. The moments I spent with my seventeen comrades I learned so much. I truly can say I was inspired to stand for something far greater by Zach and Fariha, the supporters and true soldiers on the front lines. Anonymous anarchists.
I was all about my own people, brown pride, my attitude was different, but through this experience, I am reborn, liberated. I truly can say I embrace my brothers not by color or set clique, no, no, no. I embrace my brothers, black, white, brown as one.
I thank those who taught me truth: Dwayne, Rome, OB, Pedro, Zack. And the others I stood with: Smoke, Ruk, Capo, Kevi Kev, Luski, Cream, Nil. And the one fallen soldier we lost but cannot be forgotten, Kelz, who passed away, way too soon, a brother who truly proven to me the power of love is real. No matter what, each one of us matters, we all do, never forget what true brotherhood and love can do and we can change the world.
To write to Robert Hernandez, send letters to:
Robert G. Hernandez
Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 639
Las Cruces, NM 88004