Frances “Sissy” Farenthold was a dynamic trailblazer in every sense of the word. She came into IPS’s family in the 1970s as a key ally to IPS’s Third World Women’s Project, served as an IPS board member and the board chair in the 1980s, and continued to work with IPS for peace, justice, and the environment right up to her death in 2021. We celebrate her courage, her activism, her public service, her championing of women, and her humor.
From Cora Weiss, President, Hague Appeal for Peace, and Peter Weiss, former IPS Board Chair: “We loved Sissy, a role model for young women and a model of courage and decency for women and men.”
From Isabel Morel Letelier, Director of IPS’s Human Rights Project and Third World Women’s Project, 1976-1991: “Sissy taught me many things. We went to the plant in Amarillo, Texas, where the United States assembles nuclear weapons. We stayed there, where the train that carried the nation’s nuclear warheads stopped, and joined the protest of religious people and peace groups. Unforgettable.”
From Robert Borosage, IPS Board, Board Chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus Center, Director of IPS, 1977-1988: “Sissy’s resume displays her will, her intelligence and her remarkable energy. What it doesn’t reveal is her warmth, her generosity, and her empathy. She was not only the chair of the IPS board; she was my friend. And she will be missed.” Read Bob’s full remarks here.
The Washington Post and the New York Times also wrote tributes to Sissy.
From Joe Holley’s tribute to Sissy in the Washington Post: “She was a southern belle who was happy to be called a political radical. A quiet thinker in a state that loves flamboyance. A feminist who was uncomfortable with the label. A person of austere habits whom the counterculture embraced. A politician who didn’t like to talk. A legislator from oil country who stood up to Big Oil. A leader of a joyous insurgency who was somber by nature.” Read the full tribute here.
From Margalit Fox’s tribute to Sissy in the New York Times: “Ms. Farenthold’s many laurels include a lifetime achievement award, named for Ms. Ivins, from the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. Her work in later years included agitating for gay rights and against South African apartheid, the Iraq War and the torture of detainees at the United States military prison at Guantánamo Bay. She served as chair of the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank in Washington, and as a human-rights observer in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Iraq and elsewhere.” Read the full tribute here.