My name is Hannah Ibañez, and I’m an Assistant Public Defender and Activist living in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was born in Northern Ireland to a British mother and Afro-Cuban father, later raised in Miami, and educated in Boston. My working-class parents are retired Officers with the Miami-Dade Police Department; all aspects of criminal law and social justice advocacy have long been a part of my life.
As soon as I discovered Public Defense in law school, I knew it was exactly what I envisioned when I dreamt of working at the front lines of justice. I was lucky to be offered a position with the office I really wanted to work in, and my work there continues to account for my most meaningful public service experiences to-date.
While I loved, and continue to love, the work that Public Defenders do, I soon found myself frustrated with the everyday injustices happening behind courthouse doors. Lavender, Liberty & Lemonade became an outlet: a way for me to inform and involve my community with the realities of our criminal justice system and its many multi-faceted issues. The goal is to hold space for conversations and breakthroughs relating to people, politics, and pop-culture.
Pulling from personal experiences, research and data, and different dialogues, Lavender, Liberty & Lemonade addresses issues such as the criminalization of homelessness, the shifting perceptions on Marijuana legalization, and the truth about Public Defenders.
The season finale spotlighted Public Defenders. I conducted a series of interviews of colleagues in my office—misdemeanor, juvenile, and felony assistant Public Defenders as well as the Chief Public Defender—about what it really means to be a PD. The purpose is to provide a comprehensive, authentic, and genuine resource for the public about who we are, what we do, and why we do it. The episode is a compilation of answers to the following questions: What is the role of the Public Defender? What do you feel are the biggest threats or obstacles to justice with the criminal justice system? How do you feel when people ask you: "How could you defend criminals?" Would you ever be a State Attorney? What are your thoughts on Police–any identified issues or proposed solutions? What is the hardest part of your job? What is the best part of your job? What is your favorite client story?  Why are you a Public Defender?
With this piece, the untold stories of the individuals fighting for liberty and justice for all come to light. My wish is that it brings you as much hope listening to it as it brought me producing it.
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