Stand Tall With Hernandez

Fabian Nunez is director of the Community Based Learning Project at Claremont Graduate School and a communications consultant for the L.A. County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO. Juan Jose Gutierrez is the executive director of One Stop Immigration & Education Center

While it seems that Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Hernandez has now crossed a major hurdle since being arrested for drug use last month, many of us still are deeply saddened, not only for the personal difficulties he is facing, but also because some people are already using the councilman’s drug problem as an excuse to destroy a guiding voice for social progress and honesty in government. In all the talk about Hernandez’s personal and political challenges, his voice for human rights for all and his years of struggles for fair representation for Latinos, the disadvantaged and the underprivileged are being buried.

As some are trying to destroy the image and the integrity of Hernandez, we should be reminded that the councilman has not been charged with corruption or sexual abuse. When judging him, the public should see Hernandez for what he really is, a fighter for social justice who is now overcoming a very serious personal problem.

In these difficult days of his life, those of us who have locked arms with him in many immigrants rights marches through the streets of L.A., who have come to him for support with our particular causes and have been embraced by him with open arms, who have witnessed his hard work and dedication to advance the rights of the poor, the homeless, labor and all the underprivileged, should stand tall in defending his character. He deserves nothing less.