Husband was victim of unfair persecution

Dear Editor:

I know personally what major effect the Strawberry raid had on one family – mine. I am Mrs. Alvarez, a name that I carry with pride, and I will not let Sheriff Vallario justify this raid by calling Julio a gangster. He is not one.

Julio and Cesar Alvarez are the most responsible, hard working men I have ever met … men who nine years ago were left with twin 1-year-old girls and have raised them on their own. Now these twin girls are 10 and feel like a part of them is missing, because my husband – who was like a father to them – is gone. Knowing that he might not get to witness the birth of his own first-born daughter, after seeing his love for Cesar’s and my children, is devastating.

My children and I are U.S. born, and I was raised in this valley. I am not against any operation to keep my children safe. But the sheriff determined that my husband and his brother were “known gang members” strictly because of the way they were dressed. These two “gang members” were rolling not with an entourage, but with four children and a pregnant woman.

Now, my 5-year-old refuses to wear a basketball jersey in public because he is afraid to go to jail, and my 4-year-old daughter and twin nieces blame themselves and say that if they didn’t push to go to the fair, then none of this would have ever happened. They are all now terrified of the police.

We have been doing things right and I filed for my husband’s papers a month after we were married. We have been patiently waiting for an answer and going through the legal steps before this occurred.

My husband would have gladly changed to whatever the sheriff wanted to see him wear; he is not a gang member and he was not flying any colors at Strawberry Days. He was enjoying a day at the carnival with his family that he loves dearly. He is gone now and we miss him.

Lorenza Alvarez

Glenwood Springs