The knock at the door came about 10 p.m. last Thursday. I was expecting my friend, Homero. I knew why he was there.
Homero Tristan is a good friend of Aunt Martha’s. He is a Founding Partner at Tristan & Cervantes, a legal firm that has supported our organization for a number of years. Both Homero and his firm’s Managing Partner, Pedro Cervantes, have become trusted advisors who, along with our in-house counsel have informed our strategic decisions and contended with partners who do not share our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Most recently, they have played a significant role in our continued fight for the rights of DCFS youth in the Village of Midlothian.
When I opened the door, the look on Homero’s face confirmed the worst. After being unable to reach his partner for more than a day, he had gone with the police to do a wellness check at Pedro’s home. They found Pedro there. He was only 43 years old when he died.
Pedro Cervantes was not an Aunt Martha’s employee but, like his partner, he quickly became a member of the Aunt Martha’s family. He shared our calling to stand up for the rights of others. Those of us who knew Pedro respected his passion as much as his talent. Both were on full display in his work on Aunt Martha’s civil rights suit against Midlothian. He defended the rights of the DCFS youth who had been displaced in the midst of a pandemic, then positioned the agency to pivot once again. His efforts laid the groundwork for us to create a step-down program for youth who are ready to leave our Integrated Care Center. Pedro was a fierce advocate. He was a fine lawyer and an even finer gentleman.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cervantes family, our friend Homero and all of Pedro’s friends and colleagues.