Who is Xinachtli (Alvaro) Luna Hernandez?
Beginning in April 2016, we have stopped referring to our revolutionary friend as "Alvaro", which he regards as his slave name. His chosen name is Xinachtli, which is Nahuatl for "seed".
Xinachtli Luna Hernandez is a long time Chicano and Civil Rights leader. While in prison during his youth for a murder he did not commit, Xinachtli made his time serve him by educating himself in radical ideology, which helped him to make sense of his circumstances, and the law. Mumia Abu-Jamal highlights Xinachtli in Jailhouse Lawyers (City Lights Press 2009) for his legal work on behalf of fellow prisoners. In prison, he has organized hunger strikes, work stoppages, yard take-overs, as well as federal civil rights suits against the Texas Department of Corrections to improve prison conditions. He was one of the plaintiffs and the major force behind the landmark Ruiz v. Estelle case, in which the court gave a scathing denunciation of prison conditions in Texas.
Following international pressure and grassroots organizing, Xinachtli was paroled on the murder charge, and moved to Houston with his wife. He founded and became National Executive Director of the National Movement of La Raza, and spearheaded the successful campaign to free Ricardo Aldape Guerra, who had been framed and convicted of killing a Houston cop and faced the electric chair. For this and other anti-police brutality and community organizing efforts, in 1993 Xinachtli was invited to address the UN General Assembly in Geneva as a NGO delegate, under Guatemala's Rigoberta Menchu, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the previous year.
After his divorce, Xinachtli moved back to his hometown of Alpine, Texas, intent on continuing to fight police brutality. Specifically, he wanted to get justice for his best friend, Ervay Ramos, who was 16 when shot in the back of the head by an Alpine cop in front of Xinachtli’s eyes. (The officer received 5 years probation.) In an attempt to stop him in his quest for justice, the sheriff attempted to arrest Xinachtli without a warrant for an alleged parole violation. Xinachtli refused, and watched the sheriff begin to draw his weapon. Afraid for his life, Xinachtli disarmed him and ran. As the sheriff himself admitted to the media during the manhunt, Xinachtli did not threaten the officer nor harm in any way. However, he was charged and convicted of aggravated assault on a peace officer, and sentenced to 50 years.
Back in prison, Xinachtli has continued to organize. When a fellow prisoner was killed, the murderer fingered Xinachtli as being behind the hit (presumably in exchange for leniency) and Xinachtli was put in administrative segregation (solitary confinement) where he has been for the last 12 years. Of his own struggle, Xinachtli says, "I believe firmly in the power of the people. If I am to be free, it's because the people fight to see that happen."
Committee to Free Alvaro Luna Hernandez