Hengre M. : Life after the military


Hengre M.
33, Virginia

Most hated stereotype: That we’re criminal


An Iraq war veteran, Hengre has seen things.

The time he spent in the middle eastern country, returning home when many of his friends didn’t, made him a stronger man, he says.

But like some of his fellow servicemen and servicewomen, Hengre started having problems with the law. It’s unclear if there’s a true connection between his experience in Iraq and his run-ins with the law, but his time back has been littered with charges, including breaking and entering, malicious wounding, pandering and drug possession.

“I have only been convicted on false identification because I was tired of fighting the bullshit, so I took a lesser charge,” he says.

But just because he’s been involved with the legal system, Hengre makes a point that it doesn’t mean that every black man has.

Many of the charges he’s faced resulted from the pursuit of money, a commodity that he craves, chases and places great importance on. But family is also important.

Hengre is the father of six, born from relationships with four different women. He’s able to spend time with most, but not all of his children, for varying reasons. Though “non-profit” is not a word, lifestyle or business endeavor he leans toward, if he could, Hengre says he’d start a fathers’ rights group.

“The only injustice in my life has been the amount of time I have been able to be in some of my kids’ lives,” he says. “I think that if parents don’t live together the child should have equal time with both parents by law, unless one parent chooses not to participate.  Poor fathers should have the same opportunities as women, access to free lawyers to achieve an equal bond with their child.”

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