Esther was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Chicago at the age of 9. Growing up, Esther has fond memories of holiday celebrations in Puerto Rico, like when her father would roast a pig in the back of her childhood home to celebrate Three Kings Day. As children, in honor of Three Kings Day, she and her siblings would hide a box filled with grass and place it under their beds so they could get a gift in exchange.

Esther graduated as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant in 1986, and worked for 25 years with Illinois Masonic Hospital across several departments, before she retired in 2010.

Esther Hernández is the mother of Rosendo and Juan Hernández, also known as the Hernández brothers. In 2000, the Hernández brothers were sentenced to life in prison. The lead detective involved in their case, Reynaldo Guevara, is known to have framed at least 56 people for murder. Realizing that she couldn’t depend on the system to free her children, she took matters into her own hands, with the power of the lord, to fight for what is right.  In July, 2022, after over two decades of struggle, Juan & Rosendo’s convictions were overturned, and Esther was finally able to welcome her sons home.

Esther’s family and friends describe her as a warrior and a fighter.  In addition to her role in MAMAS, Esther served as the President of Innocent Demand Justice, an organization fighting to bring awareness to wrongfully convicted people through protest and court support.  For years, Esther has mobilized people to show up at court hearings for all the victims since an empty courtroom could harm a case.  She’s also extensively researched and documented the cases of over 65 individuals who have been framed by Guevara.  Esther is passionate about fighting for all wrongfully convicted people- not only her sons.

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I'm not gonna stop until all these people come home! It's a hard thing. Nobody knows what we go through- the corruption is everywhere, and we can never give up, so the fight continues.
Esther Hernandez

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