A Letter from Sansón

Hola Amigos,

I send you my greetings and respect. My name is Sansón Noé Andrade, and what I am going to tell you is very hard. It’s very different from the life you may know. Until recently, it had been a long time since I talked about this with anyone. 

I’m from a very pretty town by the sea called Tecomán in Mexico, but I am writing to you from Tehachapi State Prison in southern California. Here, I didn’t talk much, even less about my story. However, through visits and letters, I worked with my friend, director Rodrigo Reyes, to create Sansón and Me, a new movie about my life and our connection. We’re now working with Represent Justice on screenings of our film around the country.

I have survived personal tragedies in both Mexico and the US. I was 12 when my aunt took me out of an orphanage in Mexico and across the border into the US. We traveled by car all the way from Tecomán to California. That night I slept on a couch, but it was more comfortable than any bed, rug, or blanket in my entire life. I couldn’t believe it! I had really crossed over to the other side! I forgot about everything and I swore I’d never go back to Mexico.

When I was 19 years old, I was given the harsh sentence of double life without parole, which means I was sentenced to die in prison. I was present when the crime for which I was convicted was committed, but I did not commit the crime. However, because of felony enhancement laws in California, I received the most extreme form of a life sentence. I have been incarcerated for 12 years, and to this day, I still want to get out, be a productive member of the free world, and make amends to society. 

I want society to know that I am a caring and loving person, I have remorse, and that my story is not made up. My story is also not unique, and I speak because there are tens of thousands of people like me sentenced to life without parole in the U.S. 

I want people to watch Sansón and Me because my life is an open window to the harsh realities of the judicial and immigration systems, and it tells the realistic and unfortunate story of many people. In addition, the film has a powerful message that asks us to change the judicial system to be more just and fair. 

The film gave me the gift of looking back on the memories of my past and understanding the roots of my life’s consequences. It allowed me to learn a lot, mature a little more, and move forward with the knowledge that a big change is beginning in my life. I also learned that I am a strong individual who has both survived tragedies and also made many bad decisions, and it is up to me to overcome the past and change my future.

Thank you for allowing me to introduce myself to you.

With all my love and respect,
Sansón Noé Andrade

“The system is designed to silence people like Sansón — to suppress their stories, trying to make sure that society never hears from them again.” – Rodrigo Reyes, Director, Sansón and Me

Now that you have been introduced to Sansón, you can honor how he has shared his story with us all by sending him a postcard. Complete a short form with your message, and we will work with the nonprofit Ameelio to print and mail a postcard from you to Sansón.