Bill Yarbro had a college degree in social work, and from the time I met him, until my last interaction with him as he reached out to me to help yet someone else to ‘life themselves up,’ he absolutely lived up to his life’s work — nurturing, linking and lifting other people up.
This is worthy of note: not one time, in a 25+ year relationship, did Bill ever call or contact me, when it was about him. It was always, about what he could do for others. What a man. What, a man.
And that was the theme of each and every speaker that had something to say or share — about our friend Bill Yarbro — at the recently planned memorial of him and his amazing life, as put together and organized, by his dear friend, and mine, Brad Johnson.
Held at Brad’s history Post & Beam Restaurant in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, it was like a family reunion. But there Bill Yarbro goes again — bringing folks ‘back together,’ in love. Even in death. Bill got ‘the band back together again.’ The TNL (The New Leaders) band, that is.
The New Leaders organization was a group of young 20 and 30 something’s in Los Angeles, in the 1980s and 1990s, inspired by then L.A, Mayor Tom Bradley to go out and ‘become the change we wanted to see in the world.‘ and that, many of the TNL members did in the three decades since.
But one man, kept us straight and everything moving forward and on constant steady ground throughout — and that man was one William ‘Bill’ Yarbro. The ma we memorialized this weekend.
And so, TNL emerged again on a February afternoon in 2022, inspired by the unending gathering power — the ‘social work’ — of our friend Bill Yarbro. And even in Bill’s moment of rest, he seems to still be organizing the leaders, to lead also.
So thank you Bill, for bringing together Brad Johnson and his wife Linda, and Rose Catherine Pinkney and myself, and Rachael Doff and the likes of Kevin Ross and Andrea Jackson, and Mrs. Denita Willoughby and Najee Ali, and countless others.
This much magic about Bill Yarbro we know —he has a convening and gathering power like few others.
Rest well good brother. Rest well. Job well done. You have been Promoted. Gone on, to a better place. A place, possibly, now worthy of your good heart and good spirit.
With HOPE, Light and Love.
John Hope Bryant. A Friend.