Bahamian businesswoman overcomes first days of hardship

Leona Coakley-Spring and her two children around the time that she immigrated from the Bahamas to the United States. (Photo courtesy Leona Coakley-Spring.)
Leona Coakley-Spring and her two children around the time that she immigrated from the Bahamas to the United States. (Photo courtesy Leona Coakley-Spring.)

Leona Coakley-Spring owns Rags to Riches, a consignment shop in Redmond.

In 1972, she left behind a life of poverty in Nassau, Bahamas to pursue her dream of becoming an actress in Chicago, Illinois. Coakley-Spring was a 22-year-old single mother of two — and unbeknownst to her, another baby on the way.

Coakley-Spring still considers the United States her safe haven. But during her first days in this country, the people she trusted took advantage of her vulnerability as a new immigrant.

This story was produced in partnership with the First Days Project.

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