Friends of Justice Leadership Conference, February 2015
Friends of Justice Leadership Conference, February 2015

Alan Bean, Executive Director. Since 2000, Alan has served as executive director of Friends of Justice, an organization that creates a powerful synergy between grassroots organizing, civil rights advocacy, the legal community, the mass media and ultimately the political establishment.   Friends of Justice is committed to building a new moral consensus for ending mass incarceration. Friends of Justice sparked organizing effort in Jena, Louisiana and brought the case to the attention of the mainstream media and the blogosphere.  The organization is currently directing national attention to the wrongful prosecution of Mississippi native, Curtis Flowers.  He has been quoted extensively in leading publications such as Newsweek, The Washington Post, USA Today, La Monde and The Chicago Tribune and CNN  and his work with Friends of Justice been featured in the religious media outlets such as EthicsDaily.com and the Associated Baptist Press.

Dr. Bean is the author of Taking out the Trash in Tulia, Texas, an insider account of the events surrounding the Tulia drug sting.   “What distinguishes Taking out the Trash,” a reviewer notes, “is one’s sense that Bean has been an honest broker, and that despite the locale and feeling of dusty streets around you, it’s the story of how most people in this country feel about those tagged as criminals.”

Board of Directors

Lydia Bean, founding member. While working as a vounteer organizer for Friends of Justice in its Tulia days, Lydia developed a youth leadership training program for children affected by the incarceration of a family member, called Power Corps. Lydia currently spends countless hours assisting her father, Dr. Bean in program strategy as well as developing potential allies and funding for Friends of Justice. Lydia, a professor at Baylor University, recently graduated with a PhD in Sociology at Harvard University, completing her dissertation on religion and public life in Canada and the United States. She is an associate of the think tank advancing progressive ideas and strategy, New Vision, and advises the Christian movement Sojourners. Lydia formally joined the Board in January, 2008.

Nancy Bean, founding Board member. Nancy was a teacher at Tulia High School when Friends of Justice began its work and experienced daily the devastation the “criminalization of poverty” wreaks on young people. The Bean family had just moved to Nancy’s hometown of Tulia to expose their three children to extended family community and the diversity of small town life when they began to smell something rotten. Nancy now works as a Counselor with Arlington Schools. Nancy heads up our camping program for children with incarcerated family members and has traveled widely representing Friends of Justice.

Liliana Ibarafounding member. Lili worked at much personal sacrifice to distribute the materials questioning the Tulia Drug Sting and the Rodriguez brothers debacle and to research the appeal for Tulia resident and son of founding Board member, David Johnson. Lili, an attorney and licensed social worker, has recently been working alongside Lydia and Alan Bean to research funding opportunities for Friends of Justice. Liliana, her husband Jeremy Thompson, an urban planner and social activist, and their infant daughter, Iris, live in Boston, MA.

Marva Allum  is a graduate of the University of New Orleans and Amber University where she earned a Master of Science degree in Business Administration and Information Systems.  A seasoned political strategist, Marva is a longtime member of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas.

 Community Advisors and Founders

James Canup  has been a board member since September 2008. James is a native Texas dedicated to working for social, economic and environmental justice. James is Director of Development for American Gateways which promotes justice for immigrants and refugees by providing free and low cost legal services and education. Previously James served as Executive Director of Texas League of Conservation Voters and Director of Development for the ACLU Foundation of Texas.

Luis Castillo, a program administrator at DFW Airport, is the president of Arlington LULAC and is active in civil rights advocacy in City and School Administration.   A former police officer, Luis has firsthand knowledge of the importance of public scrutiny of officials in safe-guarding due process and accountability. Luis and his wife Rosa, who works for Arlington ISD, have two daughters. Luis brings an emphasis on management for action to our Board.

Ann Colomb has been a board member since January, 2007. A housewife and community organizer,  Ann and three of her sons were wrongfully convicted on the uncorroborated testimony of several dozen federal inmates. Following the aggressive intervention of Friends of Justice, Ann and her sons were completely vindicated and released to their families. Already, Ann has worked with Friends of Justice on cases in Jena and Bunkie, Louisiana.

Ernesto Fraga.  A resident of Waco, Texas, Ernesto publishes Tiempo, a newspaper targeted to the Hispanic community in Texas.  He has been active in Texas politics for decades and has devoted his life to community organizing.

Stephanie Greenlea is a researcher, teacher and organizer based in New Haven, Connecticut. Her work has been in the service of economic and racial justice through the labor movement, electoral politics, education and community building. Stephanie’s research interests include contemporary social movements, technology and new media.

Rev. L. Charles Stovall serves as Minister of Justice for St. Luke United Methodist Church in Dallas. Rev. Stovall, alongside his wife, Denise Johnson Stovall, a journalist with United Methodist Women, is well known in civil rights circles throughout the country. Pastor Stovall is a former member of the national board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He served as the Texas State director for SCLC during a campaign to alleviate police brutality in the Lone Star state. The clergyman was also a co-founding member of the United Organizations for Justice which challenged citizens to monitor racial profiling and alleged killings by the police in the black community. He led a team to dialogue with the Dallas Police Department and encouraged the city to change many of its policies and practices. Pastor Stovall is an active member of the Washington-based African American Leadership Council and African American Ministers in Action. Rev. Stovall recently traveled to Mississippi to pursue our intervention in the Curtis Flowers case with Dr. Bean.

Charles Kikerfounding Board member. Dr. Kiker and his wife Patricia had just retired to their home county after 40 years wandering the continent as a Baptist minister and teacher when the Sting came down. Charles has traveled to places like New York, Atlanta and Kansas City and the Texas legislature, telling the Tulia story and speaking out for criminal justice reform. Recently, Charles has developed an interest in alternative energy as a job-creating dynamo for hardscrabble communities like Tulia, Texas. Charles currently serves as President of Amarillo ACLU and on the state board of the Texas ACLU.

Thelma Johnson, founding Board member. Thelma Johnson has experienced first-hand the injustice of our justice system, spending time behind bars and watching a son, two nephews, and long-time friend, Joe Moore sent off for long sentences on trumped up charges. Thelma, a retired cook and club owner, is the unofficial “Auntie” of Tulia’s black community. Thelma has traveled extensively with Friends of Justice and has spent long hours counseling many of the young people involved in the Tulia drug sting.

Denise Atkins initiated contact with Friends of Justice in February 2007, introducing Dr. Bean to the community members in the wake of a series of drug sweeps affecting the black community in Bunkie, LA.

Caseptla Bailey was instrumental in bringing Friends of Justice attention and action to Jena in December, 2006. Currently Director of Organizing in the Trenches, the resulting grassroots organization in Jena.

Larry Bazille is a Dallas real-estate agent who became involved in the fight for justice in Bunkie after his brother, Larry, was arrested in a warrantless search and charged with drug-trafficking without any evidence.

Freddie Brookins Sr., founding member. Freddie Brookins, a longtime advocate for fairness and empowerment in Tulia’s black community, is President of the Tulia NAACP Branch. His son, Freddie, Jr. was sentenced to 20 years when he refused to plea bargain the truth. Freddie, a meatpacking supervisor, has made frequent trips on behalf of Friends of Justice, telling his story in places like New York, Washington DC, Houston and Austin.

Irene Favila, LULAC Liaison. Irene Favila is Deputy District Director for Region 1 with the League of United Latin American Citizens and was a member of the Plainview, TX City Council until her recent move to Hereford, TX. She has worked as a civil rights advocate for many years and has cooperated with Friends of Justice since we first made a presentation to LULAC in January of 2000. Irene was directly responsible for the coverage in the Los Angeles Times in the fall of 2000. Recently, Irene spearheaded a successful fight for Latino voting rights in Plainview, Texas. Irene has retired from our Board but continues to be a valued advisor and advocate.


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