Steve Cohen, the driving force behind No One Is Illegal (NOII) UK, died at around 5am on Sunday, 8th March 2009. He’d been fighting against rheumatoid arthritis for fifteen years. It had caused him terrible pain and increasing disability — yet he carried on writing and campaigning, and even initiating new campaigns, almost to the very last.
In the end, he went peacefully, with his closest friends and family beside him in the flat he shared with his daugher Rachel in Prestwich, North Manchester. There was a packed memorial meeting in Manchester Town Hall the following Thursday.
Steve convened the No One Is Illegal group in September 2003 after publishing a book of that name earlier in the year for Trentham Books.
During the 1980s and 1990s Steve was a campaigning immigration-law barrister, fighting and winning many landmark cases, including those of Viraj Mendis, Nasira Begum, Anwar Ditta, the Rahman family, Khan family, Okolo family, Okanlami family, Decardi Nelson family and the Anderson family.
In 1989 he established the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU).
Messages of appreciation can be sent to GMIAU:
By email: Denise McDowell (Director of GMIAU)
By post: Remember Steve Cohen, GMIAU, 1 Delaunays Road, Crumpsall Green, Manchester M8 4QS
If you want to make a donation in his memory, please make the cheque out to ARTHRITIS RESEARCH (and send it to the address above).
Similarly, GMIAU will forward personal messages of condolence to Steve’s daughter Rachel, his son Tom (and Tom’s wife Cecilia and their children Fintan and Ellen), to Sheila, Harriet and all those who loved Steve and supported him so well.
NOII supporter and activist Marion Hamm has put together a page of her own about Steve, with many useful links to his many publications.
This poem by Stephen Spender was read by Harriet at the memorial gathering in Manchester Town Hall: “I think continually of those who were truly great”.