The New York Annual Conference - JFON managing attorney, TJ MIlls, remembers the life and influence of Lilia Fernández, founder of Justice For Our Neighbors:
Lilia Fernandez died early this morning on May 15, 2016. As you know, she founded JFON back in 1999. As an attorney, she was my first employer – and provided refuge from my previous one, the INS.
Although Lilia retired maybe 10 years ago, she delighted in the legacy of JFON. Even last month she called me about another “caso interesante” – Lilia’s euphemism (and our running joke) that she was about to send over another impossible case—an undocumented person with no obvious remedy. The more interesting, the more impossible they were. I have no idea where she found them. They probably found her. Even years after Lilia retired, destitute moms, homeless persons – immigrants mostly, continued to show up at UMCOR’s offices, unannounced, to ask for Lilia. They were devastated to learn of her retirement- she had given them so much, even from her own pocket.
Lilia delighted in the work of JFON - especially during her retirement years. For me, I think that nothing will honor her more than to keep taking on those impossible cases.
Hasta pronto, Lilia. Te queremos mucho.
More information about Lilia's life can be found in this obituary.