I met Alex Sanchez for the first time when doing a radio interview for Mujeres Abriendo Caminos on the work of gang interventionist and the transformation it was creating in the lives of two teenage womyn who were who were caught up in a local gang. The young women respected Alex and saw him as a mentor because he was brave enough to change his life and help young people like them find hope in creating a different future. These women were very smart and greatly related and recognized Alex’s work from ex-gang member to peace-maker.
I continued knowing Alex and Homies Unidos for the selfless and tireless work they commit to on a daily basis in Los Angeles. Alex also participated in the hunger strike for immigrant and human rights that took place in Placita Olvera in 2008. Homies Unidos works with families to help young people remove themselves from a life of violence. H.U. has offered free legal services to under-resourced residents of L.A. They have participated in free food programs in the Mac Arthur Park area. They have helped people clean their bodies and mind by offering affordable tattoo removal services. During another interview, I learned of the commitment that Alex and Homies Unidos offered to Luis Enrique Guzman to fight his case for freedom in the courts.
The positive transformation that Alex Sanchez has been a part of in inspiring is infinite. And it is the reason why hundreds of his supports, locally and internationally, are standing by him during this challenging time. Today a meeting was held where his lawyer, Homies Unidos board members, and family members spoke so that we may be a part of his campaign for a fair trial, WE ARE ALEX ! (website active after July 1, 2009). The truth is that Alex should not even have to go through this. Those of us who have worked with him throughout this city recognize his sincerity of servitude in peace-making. If you would like to support the campaign, you can attend his bail hearing on Tuesday, June 30th @ 1PM. Also, please write a character letter of support, there is also a collection of bail assets that are being received by: Kerry Bensinger’s Law Firm. Bensinger, Ritt, Tai & Thvedt, 65 N. Raymond Ave, Suite 320, Pasadena, CA 91103 – fax 626-685-2562.
I will continue to update my blog as much as possible, currently I am in pain from a pinched nerve on my right shoulder, it hurts to type all this out on multiple levels. Below is my personal letter of support, also here is a link to CISPES Letter of Solidarity. Remember to keep the faith, we are all strong and courageous as we walk with truth and justice on our sides. WE ARE ALEX!
June 28, 2009
Honorable Alicia G. Rosenberg
United States Courthouse
312 N. Spring Street, Courtroom D
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Re: Mr. Alex Sanchez Cr. 09-00466
Dear Judge Rosenberg:
My name is Ana Castillo and I am a community organizer working with youth advocates in the prevention of substance abuse and violence in the city of Inglewood. I write to you in full support of Mr. Alex Sanchez, a person who is deeply valued in the community because of his tireless and selfless commitment to youth, families, and the social well being of the city of Los Angeles as a whole. In my career and efforts to create a better future for our youth, I have had the honor of using Homies Unidos and Mr. Sanchez since 2005 as a resource and source of wisdom and inspiration in the arduous work of peace-keeping, creation of safe alternatives for young people, and collective empowerment of communities.
Mr. Sanchez has served as an example of what violence prevention and intervention can do in the lives of under-privileged youth in our city. He has over-come and survived the violence in this city and has committed himself for over 10 years to building peace and uplifting the lives of young men and women. His presence in the community has been so strong, that I have seen first hand the way young people look up to him. Young people relate to his past, but most importantly, they want to relate to who he has become, and that is a person of servitude, turning lives around for youth who desperately need a way out of the circles of violence and poverty.
In Mr. Sanchez’s commitment to the work of social justice, equity, and creation of opportunities for youth, he has been asked to speak in college lecture halls, community town halls, and media outlets. He is sought after as a person of example because his stories serve purpose time and time again for those of us who want to change at a personal level and beyond ourselves. Mr. Sanchez is no threat to our community; he empowers, gives tools, and resources to individuals so they can build their future.
I speak highly of Mr. Sanchez because of the work he is committed to in this city and across borders. Please allow for his release. I do believe that the court can see that he is a person of trust and respect because he also has the community’s trust and respect. Thank you for your time and commitment to justice.