Tony Hernandez--Rest in Peace

It is my sad responsibility to report that my good friend Tony Hernandez, carnal, father, brother, and spiritual partner in our work with gangs, recovery, and building community, is confirmed to have passed on. His body was discovered today at an industrial park in Culver City, not far from his home in Los Angeles. A gardener discovered the body inside his pick up truck after missing for around twelve days.

Tony left one note--that who ever finds him to contact me. The coroner's office says they also found bottles of pills and beer cans in the cab. It's clear he took the pills to find the peace he has sought for so long.

I'm humbly honored to say he was my best friend here in LA. We connected strongly. I appreciated his big heart, his humor, his stories, and even the painful things he has gone through in his life. He brought much joy to the people at Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural, the San Fernando Sweat Lodge Circle, the Mosaic Men's Conferences, Youth Mentoring Connection, and at Homeboy Industries.

Tony was originally from Guatemala, but spent a good part of his boyhood in Mexico. He ended up in the United States at age eleven. Although he was extremely smart, articulate, and compassionate, his life was a rough time, eventually getting involved in gangs, heroin, and prison.

For the past ten years or so he was part of our recovery group, and eventually found a wonderful companion in the artist Caroline Maxwell. But the dark places he would go to were often places nobody could reach.

I know Tony loved Caroline very much and he told me more than once how privileged he was to have her in his life. He also loved his friends, his daughter Zoe, and many who came to know him. He just couldn't have the right amount of love for himself.

Tony was recently laid off from work as a construction worker. For someone with felonies and addictions, this affected him very much. It is indeed hard times and Tony was having a hard time finding work. Although we kept him busy when we could, I know this played heavily in his mind--I'm sure he wanted to come through as well.

We hope to claim his body and make arrangements for a proper burial and memorial. We'll let people know. Already the word has gone out and many people are deeply saddened. I appreciate all the calls and messages.

Que descanses en paz, mi carnal.


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