The following is a statement from Lucille Spencer, a Texas Organizing Project (TOP) member and mother of Ben Spencer who has been fighting for his release for 34 years, on Ben finally being set free today after a wrongful conviction kept him behind bars:
“My heart is full and just spilling with bliss that this day has finally come. To my dear son: Your loved ones never gave up, and never lost hope. After 34 years of fighting, struggle, and sacrifice, we knew we would arrive at this joyous and righteous moment.
“As the mighty Dr. King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Ben, your mother and so many others from the community are here to fully see this justice through.”
David Villalobos, coordinator of TOP’s Right2Justice campaign in Dallas County, added:
“This emotional day is the culmination of years of grit and determination from Ms. Lucille Spencer, Ben’s legal team, community allies, the office of Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, and of course, TOP members.
“Recognizing the heightened urgency because of the spread of coronavirus in prisons, TOP members kicked our efforts to get Ben Spencer released into overdrive these last six months, ramping up pressure with petitions, rallies, phone-a-thons, and a letter-writing campaign to make sure Ben gets his shot at freedom.
“In the 2018 general election race, TOP members in Dallas County endorsed and got out the vote for D.A. Creuzot based on his vision for reforming our local justice system, with one of the criteria being that he would advocate for Ben Spencer’s release. We are glad to see him deliver on this campaign promise.
“To get closer to ending mass incarceration, and to help the many others out there who have had to endure the travesty that Ben has gone through, we need a well-resourced, fully-funded Conviction Integrity Unit to review convictions and claims of innocence. We demand policy for cases without DNA evidence, and swift intervention to free the wrongfully incarcerated in the gravest of injustices.”
Tamara Neal, a TOP Right2Justice campaign member who has been following Ben Spencer’s case for years, also said:
“I’m teary-eyed and happy beyond words right now that Ben is finally reunited with his mother and other loved ones. But the fact of the matter is that he never should have been locked up to begin with.
“This is the brutal machinery of our racist legal system at work. It should not have taken decades for him to have his freedom back. Ben, knowing his truth and never giving up faith, was not about to succumb to this dehumanizing system, though.
“It’s been an honor to work closely with Ms. Spencer on this journey. My fellow TOP members and I are ecstatic about reaching this moment, but we know the work to achieve full justice for Ben is far from over. We are not stopping, and we will not be defeated.”
Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.
This statement was sent out March 12, 2021.