Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Diary July 26, 2011

DREAM Act Texas went silent for a month.  I had just gotten back to writing when my brother passed away.  He is my only sibling.  Funny how losing someone can make you want to be quiet for a while.

He had diabetes.  He was extremely overweight.  He never took care of himself, avoided taking his insulin for years.  In his mid forties it was too late. One leg was amputated and another needed to be, but he said no.  We all knew it was a matter of time.

He was a firefighter for over 20 years with the City of Rosenberg.  Since the funeral people have been coming up to my mother telling her that he ran into burning buildings to save children.  His friends say he would give his shirt for someone in need.  He was quiet about all the things he did, but they say he was a great man.

The last years we didn't talk much.  Our lives have diverged - we were almost at opposite sides of the spectrum.  He liked to play poker.  He loved watching football.  He collected miniature fire engines.  He liked country music.

He didn't go to college or write books like I did, but he was a well respected fireman.  He was also a great uncle to my kids while I was a single mother.  I am sorry we didn't say much to each other the last years.  I guess that happens sometimes.  But one thing I can say is that I remember when he was born, when he crawled, when he first walked.  I remember him growing up, taking him to school in the morning (I am eight years older).  He is in scores of family pictures that I have

A year or so before he died he told me that he took too long to start taking care of his medical problems.  He kept waiting to do something tomorrow.  Its is a lesson for all of us.

Jose "Jojo" Felipe Hernandez II
Retired, Rosenberg Fire Department

In all of the commotion after the funeral and taking care of family issues, I wasn't able to get the addresses of his friends to thank them.  They orchestrated an incredible funeral for him.  They arranged for a fire truck to take his casket from the church to the cemetery.  They had two trucks with ladders crown the entrance to the cemetery.  They shut down the main street of Rosenberg and Richmond as his funeral procession went by.  They had a Color Guard salut him.  Other firemen friends sang and played the piano for him.  Funeral homes in Rosenberg and Houston sent limousines to carry his wife and my parents to the cemetery.

Thank you Jeff, Sammy B. and family, Joe G., Michael G and family, George V. and his sons Michael and Steven, Rick T., Davis Funeral Home, Compean Funeral Home, the Rosenberg, Richmond, Stafford and Sugar Land Fire Departments, the Rosenberg Police Department, and Richmond Police Department, Fort Bend County Sheriff's Department. The Rosenberg-Richmond Knights of Columbus.  Father James Abercrombie, and Father John Broussard.*

I also want to thank my aunt Rosa Flores and her daughters (and their families) for their incredible support of my parents during and after the funeral.  My cousins:  Rosario Stanford, Cynthia Rios, Gracie Rodriguez, Elsa Alvarez, Mary Ann Guerrero, and Irene Salinas.

*I will be adding more names.


Felix Jaure said...

Theresa Hernández, My condolences to you and your family. May the God of peace, be with you.

Sincerly Yours:

Felix Jaure

Vicente Duque said...

Marie-Theresa Hernández :

Sorry for the long disease and suffering of your brother. And happy to see you working in your blog again.

We need blogs like yours to get acquainted with what is important for Latino Youth and prospects of full citizenship for these youngsters of great promise for the future.

The USA will be a more powerful and human country once this beautiful objective of "Dream Act" is achieved.

Thanks for illustrating and explaining important developments to us. For Latinos in America and for other "undocumented" youngsters of many countries.

Vicente Duque said...

Dennis Burke, the U.S. Attorney for Arizona on SB 1070 : "It's not touchy at all because we're the ones who sued them and won" - "We can have effective immigration enforcement, but we don't need to do it the way SB1070 did" - "I think on its face it's unconstitutional and it's dividing our community"

"There's a lot of hate in our society. This country has come a long way, but we've got a long ways to go". -

Arizona Daily Sun -
U.S. attorney ready to pursue hate crimes -
By Eric Betz -
Saturday, August 6, 2011 -


Some excerpts :

Federal prosecutors want help from the community to enforce new civil rights laws.

In a well-attended public forum held on Thursday at the Murdoch Center, Dennis Burke, the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, told local leaders and community members that he was anxious to prosecute crimes under recently passed hate crimes legislation.

"We want victims to come forward so we can enforce laws," Burke said.

Also on hand was Allison Bachus, the assistant U.S. attorney and chief of the Civil Rights Unit, who gave a presentation on the current status of civil rights law.

The U.S. Attorney's office handles cases ranging from misconduct by public officials to hate crimes and human trafficking. But until recently it had limited ability to punish bias-motivated crimes.

In 2009, Congress approved the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. It is named for a gay man who was tortured and murdered for his sexual orientation in Wyoming and a young black man who was dragged behind a truck and killed in Texas.

Before the new law, it was difficult to prove hate crimes, and they only carried a misdemeanor offense, Bachus said. The offense also had to happen while the victim was engaged in a federally protected activity, such as going to school or voting.

Now, federal attorneys can more easily prove a crime was motivated by prejudice and it's an automatic felony. Additionally, they can now pursue cases that local authorities don't.

"This is really serious stuff and it needs to stop, and the only way it's going to stop is if it gets enforced," Bachus said. "What's the good of having all these new laws if they don't get put into action?"