Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Letter to a Future Death Row Inmate, Part 22

by Rodrigo "H. Roc" Hernandez #999474
Dear X,

My name is Rodrigo Hernandez, coming at you live from DeathWatch, slated to be killed by the State of Texas on January 26th, 20I2.

I was born in Crystal City, Texas, where I was raised by my grandmother. In I984, she moved me and my sister to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am currently 38 years old, and the father of three daughters, all by three different women. Many here know me as H.Roc. l got this name as soon as I arrived. This sort of happens to everyone, so don’t get surprised when you pick up a nickname yourself. Its best just to roll with it, cuz if you get one you don’t like and you let people know it, it will only stick harder.

What defines me here through my journey is my Art. I'm the baddest artist on the Row. The 'key 'thing here is that one has to try to carry oneself with dignity. When I first was handed down the death sentence I made up my mind to mentally remove myself from that sentence. I did this in three ways: first, I dedicated myself to my family. Second, I tried to shield my daughters from what the state is trying to do with me. They simply shouldn’t have to deal with such horror. Third, I tried to surround myself with a strong support group. You are going to need this group to feed you the positive energy you are going to need in order to survive. Whatever skills you have apply them to what works for you; make detailed plans on how you intend to live back here, and stick to them. It will be difficult at times, but this is all about how strong you are mentally.

I don't know much about the law here in Texas, but I know having a lawyer appointed by the courts is a bad thing. Nine outta ten are in it for the money, and won’t shed a tear over your corpse. You will meet fellow inmates who can help you understand the law and you should start on this immediately.

Many come here with broken relationships with their family, and you will need to concentrate on fixing this. Even if you think there is no hope, you should at least try. There will be information available from other inmates on penpal organizations for death row inmates. You should reach out to these organizations and establish a group of people that will help you raise money for your defense fund. Don't rely on the state to give you the investigations that you need. Honesty is the key to long friendships, so don’t go thinking you won’t get caught it you play games with these. people. It happens a lot around here and it ruins it for those of us really trying to be honorable. Don’t take their help for granted. This seems simple but you wouldn’t believe some of the stories I have heard in my time. I have been blessed with the right people in my circle, and with my artistic talent. Family is the cornerstone of your survival in this harsh environment.

Stay active and do your exercises. This place can make you depressed real quick, and the next thing you realize is that you are over weight and have high blood pressure. Get motivated and this will make you feel great inside at heart and you’ll be on another level mentally. The food here is the best (haha), so it you get some support you need to spend that money wisely and eat healthy.

Don’t be a follower in here unless you are weak-minded. There's some bad people in here that love to have a pack behind them, but that will not benefit you any. Remember you are here to die so your focus should be on saving your life. Think about how you want to be remembered or you’ll waste your time away.

I pray no one heads down this road, and finds themselves in a terrible place with no hope. This aint up to no one but you. You pave your own road in here and you run your life, not the state. Either you will make it peaceful on yourself or the oppression will overtake your mind and the results can be a hard journey. It’s up to you!

Remember, I didn’t have to give you any advice on this. Go learn the hard way, right? Because growing up that was what we all heard all of the time: go learn the hard way. Forget that. Today you will tell yourself what will I do to save my life, or you give up any chance of surviving. There are people who care about you, my friend. Be real with yourself. What represents me is this: Hold My Own. Stay prayed up, keep positive energy in your life, and at the same time stand up tor yourself. May God bless you, X! I am in here with my head held high, and whatever awaits me I"II keep it to the sky. Peace,

Rodrigo Rey Hernandez

© Copyright 2011 by Rodrigo Rey Hernandez and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker.
All rights reserved


jodac8 said...

much as i love thomas's blog i find this distasteful how can he talk about dignity when he left threw his victim out with the trash

Thomas_R. said...

I think that the term dignity applies to whatever one can salvage of oneself once on death row and so Rodrigo simply attempted to make it there without any of the "cell warrior" nonsense and that is commendable. He is right in wanting to "save" himself given his crime and use any of the time he has toward salvation and his family. It hurts him that the state will proceed barring miracle. Some on death row never come to these realizations. The advise Rodrigo gives here, I think is sincere and appropriate.