The late Robert (Bob) M. Holstein, a former Jesuit of the California province, a labor lawyer, and a fierce advocate for social justice, was one of the founders of the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ). From the late 1990’s through 2009, the IFTJ was held in conjunction with the annual gathering in Columbus, Georgia, to protest the former U.S. Army School of the Americas (now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation-WHINSEC) at Ft. Benning. Nineteen of the twenty-six Salvadoran soldiers who committed the murders of the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador and their companions received training at the former School of the Americas during the 1980’s. The Ignatian Family Teach-In and protest/vigil in Georgia began to remember the Jesuit martyrs and call for the close of the school/institute. In organizing the Teach-in, Holstein laid the foundation for what would become the Ignatian Solidarity Network, which began in 2004.
On January 5, 2003, Holstein passed away. In a homily remembering Bob at his funeral mass Rev. John Baumann, S.J., described Holstein as a man who “was passionate about justice and fairness for all peoples, particularly the poor and disenfranchised.” The Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice Award honors this commitment to justice by recognizing individuals each year who are connected with the Ignatian Family and have demonstrated a significant commitment to leadership for social justice.