Workers’ rights activist Joan Suarez honored


More than 100 members of St. Louis’ Labor, arts and civil rights community came together June 22 to honor dedicated activist Joan Suarez for her contributions to the Labor Movement’s fight for workers’ rights.

A common theme from the speakers of the evening was the role Joan played as a friend and mentor to many of St. Louis’ leading advocates for workers’ rights.

Recounting her roles as an early and longtime board member of Jobs with Justice, interim director of Missouri ProVote, founding director of Bread and Roses and of course her years of dedicated service to the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, leaders reflected on the immense impact Joan played on their lives.

As we celebrated what is at least Joan’s fourth retirement, she predicted that she probably has at least two more retirements in her, but that she always welcomed a good party. Of course, she also used the occasion to do one thing she often does best, which is raise money for the causes she loves, and the crowd raised over $2,000 to support the work of Jobs With Justice moving forward.

If you were unable to attend but would like to honor the legacy of Joan Suarez, donations can be made online at

The fun, but to some extent sad, gathering was held at Urban Chestnut Brewery in downtown St. Louis.

(Richard VonGlahn is policy director for Missouri Jobs with Justice.)

FOR HER DEDICATION TO WORKERS’ CAUSES, union members and friends raised a beer to say, “Thank you Joan” at her fourth retirement party June 22 at Urban Chestnut Brewery while a group of activists gathered around to wish her well. Front row, from left, are Caitlyn Adams, Missouri Jobs With Justice executive director; Richard VonGlahn, policy director; Joan Suarez; and Lara Granich, MOWIN executive director. In back, from left, are Joe Thomas, Jobs With Justice senior national organizer; Tony Pecinovsky, author and president of St. Louis Workers Education Society; Ashli Bolden, Jobs With Justice director for the Democracy Initiative; Jimmy Lappe, Jobs With Justice data/research director; David Nehrt-Flores, director of Deaconess Center for Child Wellbeing, and Julie Terbrock, program director, Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition. – Philip Deitch photos


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