Since President Obama commuted the life sentence of Jason Hernandez, the former inmate says he feels like he has been reborn.
“I was practically a dead man walking and President Obama gave me my life back,” Hernandez said in an interview with KFOR News. “I see him like a father now. Like any son, you want to make your father proud, and that’s what my aim is.”
Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison in 1998 in Texas, after he was caught dealing methamphetamines and crack cocaine at the age of 21.
According to the report, Hernandez now mentors youth and works as a welder in a muffler shop.
Hernandez’s activist organization, Crackopenthedoor.org, fights for inmates who were sentenced to life without parole for nonviolent drug crimes.
“The drug war has produced profoundly racist outcomes,” a statement on the website reads. “Although rates of drug use and selling are comparable across racial lines, people of color are far more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, prosecuted, convicted and incarcerated for drug law violations than are whites.”
The website argues that the mass criminalization of young men of color “is as profound a system of racial control as the Jim Crow laws were in this country until the mid-1960s.”
“Our goal is gain support to expose the racism of the drug war and to end the drug war’s assault on communities of color,” the statement concludes.