The Defensive Line

Ella Elizabeth Thomas died by suicide at the age of 24.  She was the brightest light in any room — bold, funny, charming, feisty, brilliant woman and beautiful.  Deeply loved and sorely missed, Ella's loss has led the Thomas family to create The Defensive Line to help build a world in which no young person of color dies by suicide.

Ella faced many challenges and traumas in her brief life.  Although her story is unique, her suffering and experiences are shared by many young people.  Based on the belief that we are stronger together than we are alone, The Defensive Line creates a place for openness and sharing. Together we are a line of defense against despair, shame and hopelessness, which too often prevent connection and healing. 

The difficult and painful parts of life that make us all human are ultimately what also connect us.  We do not need to be mental health experts in order to be experts in our own stories and our mental health.  Telling our truth through shared experiences can help reduce stigma and create connections that save young lives.  Together we can protect each other and guard each other’s hearts.

True strength lies in vulnerability and an open heart.  Ella’s legacy is ordinary people reaching out in love and compassion. We invite you to join us.