The statement that follows was passed on to Sacramento Prisoner Support from Luis Rodriguez’s family, and it is our honor to post it here.
Following the statement is Luis’s bio.
Luis Valenzuela Rodriguez, you will not be forgotten!
“You cannot harm me, you cannot harm one who has dreamed a dream like
mine” (Indian Warrior Song).
Luis Valenzuela Rodriguez left this mortal world on Thursday April 14,
2016, at 7:28 p.m. surrounded by his family and friends. He was sixty
years old. Songs and prayers were offered to honor him from the four
Luis was innocent. He fought with determination to prove his innocence for 37 years. Lies were told about him; in the media, in the courtroom. Many let him down and betrayed him, but many more loved him and stood by him. Despite the great injustice that befell him and despite all the
indignities he was subjected to in prison, Luis woke up every morning with a prayer of gratitude, thanking the creator for another day on earth, even if it meant it would be spent behind bars. His spirit was never broken. His sovereignty never compromised. He walked his path with dignity. Always.
Luis was no angel. He had his faults… he was human. But he was a good man. He was intense but fair in his dealings with others. He was a man of his word. He shared what little he had with those who had less. He gave guidance and encouragement to many. He counseled the young, hoping to change their perspective on life so that they would never have to return to prison (You know who you are).
Luis was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, son and brother. His physical body was not home with us, but he was ever present in our lives. He was more of a father, of a husband, than many men out there who get to go home to their families every night. Luis was Apache-Mestizo. He was a warrior. His medicine was powerful. He died in prison, then came back to life, then woke-up from a coma and rose in his hospital bed to dance to the beat of his daughter’s drum… Who does that? Luis Valenzuela Rodriguez. That’s who! Luis chose his passing. He gathered us around him to say goodbye and see him out on his journey. He obliterated the prison from his hospital room and from his life and he passed to the spirit world a free man. We are proud to call Luis our husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, son, brother, cousin and friend.
Luis V. Rodriguez was raised in an atmosphere of political and social involvement. As a youngster, he lived in Los Angeles for a period of time with a group known as the Brown Berets, a Chicano-Native American militant organization, which formed against racism and other social injustices.
Luis grew up in the times of the Vietnam war and it`s consequent demonstrations which resulted in the Watts Rebellion, and the 1970 Whittier Boulevard Rebellion after the police killed political activist and journalist, Ruben Salazar, and at which rebellion Rodriguez was a part of.
Luis« politically active father and his contact with the Brown Berets helped Luis to place these events into proper perspective and to bring about his political and social awareness. He also interacted with the League of United Latin Americans (LULAC), the G.I. Forum, and other sociopolitical organizations.
Rodriguez worked diligently to help himself and others. At age seventeen, he started Atzlan, a Chicano-Native American news magazine, which focused on politics, history, culture, and ethnic awareness. He was editor-in-chief, artist, and headed a small staff of other youths. He was a counselor at an Offender Ex-Offender program in Sacramento, a counselor in Los Angeles at the AYUDATE program, and a counselors` aide at the California Youth Authority Perkins Reception Center. his goal was to become a California Youth Authority counselor, a parole or probation officer, or an attorney, in order to help young people. Until the erroneous conviction in 1981 for the two homicides, he had never been convicted of a felony (People V. Rodriguez, 1991).