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Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

Activist calls for change in big corporations


That is the power you have to impact change literally half a world away,” said Jim Keady, an activist for underpaid workers in sweatshops on Wednesday night at his lecture ‘Behind the Swoosh’. 

Keady’s lecture profiles his work against Nike and the injustices throughout their company.  

Jim Keady started his work as a college student when he was writing a research paper and realized how unfairly workers were treated in Nike factories. 

According to Keady, workers in factories in Indonesia are paid, on average, $1.25 a day which is an insufficient amount for any human to live on. 

Keady states that he had to, “walk the talk,” and actually went to Indonesia and lived like the factory workers on $1.25 a day. 

According to Keady, Nike shoes cost about $16.25 each to make and can retail for over $200 and, by drastically underpaying their factory employees, their profits are through the roof. Keady has been doing activist work for about 20 years in order to get the word out about unfair working conditions.

“Stop endorsing these corporations,” said Keady. “What Lebron (James) makes for wearing Nike shoes for 2 hours takes a worker nine and a half years to make.”

He is eager to talk to college students because he was a college student athlete and understands the brand deals that can be associated with college teams. 

He works to educate students about the horrors of working in Nike’s factories because he believes that student athletes should have the right to dissent, any brands which they do not agree with. 

“We aren’t asking the questions about how it’s being created,” Keady said as he urges coaches to do research on the companies where they get their gear from. 

Lukas Ozaeta, a junior and a philosophy major attended the lecture and  was inspired to learn more about the topic. 

“I hope to do more research about the companies I put money into and hope to start being more conscious of stuff like that,” said Ozaeta. “This issue is extremely overlooked and we should start putting more attention on these important cases because they are affecting our fellow humans and their rights” 

“The lecture was very influential,” said Alex Sahim, a third year business accounting major. “I think it is important as Americans, as students, and as humans to be conscious of our privilege and our impact on others both domestically as well as globally.” 

To protest Nike products, Keady urges students to start buying different brands such as Alta Gracia because they are, according to their website, a ‘socially responsible’ company. 

He encourages students to get the word out by posting on social media or simply telling people about his ‘Behind the Swoosh’ lecture. He also advises students to follow in Georgetown’s example of covering the Nike logos on all of their sports gear. 

“More people should learn more about these issues,” said Ozaeta. “Also to become more informed like I did so that they can help spread awareness.” 

Keady said that often times his work can be dangerous as he has faced repercution from others several times. 

“I’ve had my apartment broken into, my computer stolen, I’ve been trailed by private investigators that Nike had, I was trailed by Indonesian secret service, I had my life threatened,” said Keady. “You have to ask, ‘What would I be willing to die for?’” 

Jim Keady plans to run for Congress to continue his grassroots activism approach and encourages students to strive to make a difference on the issue. 

“Push back against the myths,”said Keady. “Make a difference in your lives.” 

For more information about Jim Keady, his campaign for Congress, and his activism work you can visit


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