Before actor Danny Trejo was “Machete,” he was a foreman who spent the better part of a decade in and out of jail.
On April 23, he and two other keynote speakers will tell the stories of their lives as formerly incarcerated individuals to an auditorium of students.
Associated Students Inc., Rising Scholars and the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Emergency Management will host the event called “From Death to Life.”
The event is free to students and will have limited seating. It will take place in the University Student Union Ballrooms from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
Speakers will include Trejo, who has starred in “Machete” and “Spy Kids,” Scott Budnick, who produced the first two films of “The Hangover” series and former prisoner Gary Tyler, who was convicted for first degree murder at the age of 17.
This event is to give students, especially those studying criminal justice, a chance to understand what people go through after being sent to jail or prison. Due to the stigma that often comes along with being imprisoned, many former convicts struggle in society after being released.
“Once I heard about this event, I thought to myself that I have to go, because as someone who is Hispanic, it is been a tough road trying to recover from my past,” said Robert Hernandez, a senior studying political science. “I did a lot of dumb stuff when I was younger and I would love to hear the stories of people who have walked in shoes similar to mine, especially minorities.”
Trejo has been a strong advocate for giving formerly incarcerated people a second chance after being incarcerated many times throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s. He has been sober from drug use for over 40 years.
“I’m a big fan of Danny Trejo because of the Mexican representation he offers in Hollywood,” said Edward Sanchez, a senior studying communication studies. “My parents are big fans of him as well. He has literally turned himself from a negative to a positive, so how can we not love him? I am going to go to this.”