Yesterday Friends of Justice received both sad and joyous news. As we mourn the passing of our great friend, Marilyn Clement in New York, we rejoice in the birth of Iris Antonia Thompson Ibara in Cambridge Massachusetts.
Like, Marilyn Clement, Lili Ibara Thompson is one of the unsung heroes of the fight for justice in Tulia, Texas. In early 2000, Lili was working as a Vista volunteer in Plainview, Texas, twenty-five miles south of Tulia. Friends of Justice was just 16 days old when we met Lili at a Martin Luther King Day event. Hog farmer Joe Moore had been sentenced to 90 years in prison a month earlier, and a former track star named Cash Love had just received multiple 99-year sentences. When we told Lili about some of the other cases of prosecutorial misconduct we had recently witnessed she was horrified.
Lili Ibara Thompson is a practical, what-are-we-going-to-do-about-it sort of person. Her immediate thought was that we needed to get the Tulia story to the media. Retired Baptist pastor, Charles Kiker, and wheat farmer, Gary Gardner, had both written narrative accounts of the injustice we were witnessing and Lili fashioned these accounts into a pitch for the Texas Observer.
When the bundle of materials Lili sent the small but highly-respected monthly landed on the editor’s desk in Austin he handed it to Nate Blakeslee, an aspiring journalist who had just signed on with the Observer. Nate arrived in April of 2000 and his in-depth investigative piece, The Color of Justice, was published in June of that year. We were able to secure several hundred copies of Nates article and one Sunday morning, Lili helped stick copies of Blakeslee’s article under the windshield wipers as Tulia’s faithful gathered for worship.
Lili has a law degree but she is currently working as a social worker in Boston because legal work seemed too detached from a hurting world. It is fitting that Lili and Jeremy Ibara Thompson should bring a child into the world on the same day Marilyn Clement left this world. We come and we go but the work of justice goes on.
swiftly fly the years,
one season following another,
laiden with happiness,
4 thoughts on “Iris Antonia Thompson Ibara is born!”
Congratulations Lili and Jeremy!
I do not know if you remember me or not. But I met you when you were working in the summer of 2000 at the Texas Rural Legal Aide office in Plainview, Texas. I worked at the MET office in Plainview which was down the road on the same street as the TRLA office. At that time, I was on the Plainview City Council. I have wondered where you were and I just received info from Alan Bean and you are now a mommy!! Congratulations and May the Great Lord Bless you, your child and your husband!!
Hi Irene, Thanks for your message. Of course I remember you! I really enjoyed working with you and learning from you and fondly remember the fabulous goodbye bbq you gave me. I hope you and your family are doing well.
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