Interfaith Worker Justice

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Stephen Coats, Presente

Stephen Coats, Presente

5 Comment(s) | Posted |

Stephen CoatsIt is with great sadness that we report our dear friend and ally for worker justice, Stephen Coats, died in his sleep on Tuesday. 

Stephen was the founder and long-time executive director of the U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project (USLEAP), Stephen was known for his tireless commitment to worker struggles in Central and South America. His life's work will continue to inspire and touch the lives of many across the globe.

Stephen reminded us at home that a world of global workers demanded justice throughout the supply chain. Through his work with USLEAP, he helped connect fair labor advocates here to the incredible need for their support across the globe. He worked to improve workers’ rights in the apparel, cut flowers and banana industries in Central America, Ecuador and Colombia. His advocacy and the work of USLEAP brought about justice for thousands of workers and helped end sweatshop conditions in a number of Latin American countries. Stephen was also a leading advocate combating violence against trade unionists in Colombia.

To many around the IWJ office, Stephen was more than just an inspiring global worker advocate. He was part of the IWJ family —the loving husband of IWJ's Executive Director Kim Bobo and proud father of their twin sons, Benjamin and Eric. Stephen worked beside us both as an ally in the work, but also out of our national office in Chicago.

As the Interfaith Worker Justice family mourns the loss of our dear friend, we ask for your thoughts and prayers and continued commitment to worker justice for the world's workers so as to honor the work our friend Stephen championed throughout his life.

Click here for more information for information about the services and how you can honor Stephen's memory.


We welcome your comments on the IWJ blog and encourage open discussion about important issues around worker justice and the unemployed. Disagreements are fine, but mutual respect is a must. Profanity, slander or abusive language will not be permitted. IWJ reserves the right to delete comments that violate this spirit of respect.

  1. Ted von der Ahe's avatar
    Ted von der Ahe
    | Permalink
    Sadness doesn't describe the loss of a tireless worker for the rights of others. There is a hole in the warp of the universe that I pray will be filled soon. I have hope that his light shone so far forward that many others can answer his challenge and keep the struggle alive. Presente, de hecho, and to paraphrase Violeta, Gracias a su vida que nos ha dado tanto...Que Dios lo abrace para siempre.
  2. Dick Heidkamp's avatar
    Dick Heidkamp
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    So very sorry for you and your family's terrible loss.
    My wife,Ann and I will remember him often at Mass and in our prayers. May he rest in peace and may Our Lord give you and you children comfort and peace in some tough days ahead.
    Much love and prayers
    Dick and Ann Heidkamp
  3. Steve Askin's avatar
    Steve Askin
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    Kim, You and the twins will dwell in my thoughts with deepest sympathy.

  4. Cynthia Hale's avatar
    Cynthia Hale
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    I am so sorry for your loss. I remember with great fondness the evening at your home during the summer internship program. You and your husband were such gracious hosts. It is the dedication of your husband and you that helped propel me to obtain an MDIV. As a chaplain at a college, I strive to integrate your ideals
    into my daily work.
    Prayers to you, your family,the workers and your colleagues.
  5. ERIN's avatar
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    I hope things are going well for you. Time heals the wounds of a loss, but it is the memories and good times that keep us going. Love to you, the boys and Coats family. You are in my thoughts and prayers each day. I know the sting of loss, family is a great cushion.
    Take care.


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