The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

We Remember Our Comrade Leah

Oct 30, 2023

Leah Heyn (also known by the nickname Lois) was born in Baltimore to a family of Russian Jewish immigrants. She was a teenager already willing to question how society discriminated during the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and was one of the first white activists to protest racism against black families. She protested the segregation of Baltimore’s parks, swimming pools, and tennis courts.

She was an early protester of the U.S. position in the Vietnam conflict as well. When the SPARK organization was formed in the early 1970s, she was already talking to its founders to understand why Marxists say only the organized working class can ultimately change a society designed to spread discrimination, sexism, militarism, and exploitation all over the world.

While raising three children, she became somewhat known around Baltimore for her energy and enthusiasm, her lifelong sincerity that warmed all who ran into her at protest after protest.

Leah was at the gates of Bethlehem Steel to distribute one of the first SPARK bulletins and would later be a cheerful face at the Maryland state offices on Preston Street, talking her political views over with many state workers for about 35 years. Her personal and political generosity was known to many.

Leah was good friends with people in other socialist and communist organizations, ready to speak her mind and listen respectfully to those she disagreed with, in the Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party, for example.

She particularly loved classical music, having taken some training at Peabody Institute, and she gave music lessons, especially beginning piano lessons, for decades.

She did not allow the frailties of her later years to slow her down. She attended meetings and protests to her final days. She swam into her 80s and was about to go out for one of her daily walks when she collapsed and died.

In other words, there was no retirement for Leah from her endless concern with how the world needed to change. She kept on to the end, a dear friend and comrade to all who knew her.