Untold Stories of The Pack


Justin Hernandez

Nadia Brar and Justin Hernandez posing for picture at a 90’s themed party.

Jaysen Ford, Editor in Chief

18 year-old Justin Hernandez is someone who can be described as a charismatic, friendly, and hardworking person. As a child, Hernandez had everything he needed: A loving, supportive family. Until one day at around six or seven years-old  his parents were arrested within their home by the Kern County Sheriff Department, and a stable childhood was taken away from him. “It felt like my whole world changed,” he explains. Growing up with his father incarcerated, Hernandez says, “I had to live without my dad for about eight years, and I didn’t have my mom for a year.” He recounts that even after going back to living with his mother, she had to work long hours. “I didn’t really get the full experience of having a normal childhood.” Two years ago his father returned. Hernandez says that with the past two years he has been able to find more of a sense of normalcy

Recently, Hernandez talks about his experience building a relationship with his girlfriend who recently moved in with him, and what they have gone through. He says that, “She came from a whole different environment. She is Indian and I am Mexican, and her parents did not approve of that, and it just became a whole mess because they did not accept me for my race and my religion.  I’ve tried introducing myself multiple times to her father, and I’ve tried becoming the bigger man, but he still denied me, and he denied my family.” 

And then one day, she took a pregnancy test that came back positive. Hernandez says, “I was a little nervous at first, but I knew I had to do what I had. I knew I had to step up, and I knew I had to start supporting us.” He started to pursue recruitment into the navy and went through the process of tests and examinations. “It’s been a little rough, but I’m still not giving up on it. I’m gonna join for the benefits and try to support her and my family, because I don’t like relying just on a lot of people to support me,” he said.  “We kept it a secret for about a month, and we didn’t want to tell anyone because we were nervous,” he added.  Hernandez says he was reluctant to tell his parents at first, and the first person he told was his tía who was excited for him. He says that her excitement took a lot of stress off his shoulders, which gave him the courage to tell his parents. “It was a little nerve racking, but, you know, they accepted me still, and they were still supporting me,” says Hernandez.

 The expecting couple didn’t have much time before finding another problem, however  a couple weeks later, she started bleeding.  Hernandez says, “I was freaking out because I didn’t know what that meant, and I didn’t know how to react. I was scared, really scared. I didn’t know what to do at the time. I didn’t know who to tell,” he adds. 

They were scared to tell her parents about this because of how they might react. In her culture, Hernandez explains, it isn’t very accepted to be in a relationship with someone outside of that culture, let alone have a child with them. Even so, he decided he needed to go and tell them what was happening and that they needed to go to a hospital. The next day, they went to the emergency room and found out that she had suffered a miscarriage.

“It destroyed both of us, in a way,” says Hernandez. “It hurt her more than it hurt me, but deep down, it really took a big toll on me. It just gave me a little bit of false hope and put me in a dark space, and I kind of shut myself off a little from people,” he added. 

He continues and to add, “And when people ask how we’re doing, I’ll tell them we’re okay, and then we’re, you know, we’re still managing. But the truth is, I’m still a little hurt that they had to come to this point where I thought everything would be okay after so many years of just not having what I would call a family.”

Since then Hernandez and his family are healing from their loss, and looking towards the future. He says, “It’s been a couple months, and we’re living together, and we’re doing fine. We’re managing. Our family is supporting and they’re loving. And my family treats her like if she was one of her own, like a daughter. My dad loves her, my mom supports her. We try to help her anyway we can, and they support me throughout it.”

“And it’s nice to know that, even though I’ve been through a lot growing up without parents, that I can finally have that support as a man and as an adult, especially since I’m about to leave high school and become a real adult,” he said. 

In regards to his next steps in life, Hernandez explains that his goals still remain the same, “After high school, I still plan to join the military, and I plan on taking my girlfriend with me. And I know we’re gonna get through it.” 

He adds, “Family means everything to me, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I have so much love for my girlfriend, and I care so much about her, no matter the little time we’ve had together. We’ve been through a lot, but she’s been there with me through thick and thin. So I believe it will work out for us in the end.”

To the people who might be going through something like he has, Hernandez would tell them just to keep their heads high, because to get to the good, you have to go through the bad. It might be hard at first, but if you have someone there to support you, don’t lose them.