Official Statement on the release of Pedro Hernandez
Today is a day of rejoicing and something to hold on to. After being away from his family and loved ones for nearly a year, Pedro Hernandez is finally free! We started this campaign a little over a week ago and peep how quickly we are celebrating the victory of Pedro being released from prison. It all started when East Coast Regional Organizer for Afro-Latinx Unity, Eriel “Supreme” Rivera brought this case to the attention of TheIBFA. It was at that time the team went to work. He along with Jessica Perez (Pedro’s mother) and other community organizations and leaders to respond to the injustice at the historically brutal Rikers Island. This case brought back so many emotions for Supreme, who was also incarcerated as a youth and served 15 years an adult. We then contacted Shaun King, who wrote a dope article comparing Pedro’s case to our dear brother Kalief Browder. A young man who is no longer with us after experiencing the same trauma. Unfortunately, he took his own life in 2015 due to the trauma and abuse he endured while incarcerated at the same place that Pedro Hernandez was for 11 months before being released today. By the week of July 24th, Pedro Hernandez’s case had become an international story. TheIBFA and other local New York organizations contacted national media outlets. After a few strategy sessions, our team on Monday July 25th, along with supporters, nationally started the #FreePedro campaign which took aim at Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark for allowing an innocent youth to be incarcerated for almost a year due to the fact that he could not afford an insane bail set at $250,000, cash only. Through distributing social media flyers and emails, we called on supporters and members to flood the District Attorney’s phone lines communicating that we will not allow Pedro Hernandez’s case to be ignored.
By that night, Pedro Hernandez’s case had become an international story. It blew up so large that the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Organization contacted us to pay his $250,000 bail. But after our #FreePedro campaign on Monday, District Attorney Clark was forced to reduce the bail to $100,000, which had been secured through Pedro’s crowd funding account. Make no mistake, without grassroots organizing entities like the RFK Human’s Rights Organization rarely move this swiftly. The power is always in the hands of the people who are organized in powerful and transformative ways. It is always important for those who engage in the struggle to tell our own story so others can see what is truly possible when oppressed people rise and resist together. For some, this case or cause ended today. But for us, the journey has just begun.
The Central Coordinating Committee