Jessica Lehman is proud to work with an incredible and passionate group of people at SDA, after coming on as Housing Advocacy Director with Senior Action Network. She previously worked as a community organizer at ACORN and then at an independent living center, where she founded the Disability Action Network, a grassroots group of people with disabilities building a voice for their community. As a person with a disability who employs home attendants, Jessica supports domestic worker rights as a founding member and leader of Hand in Hand: the Domestic Employers Association. She leads monthly Organizer’s Forum calls, as part of the National Disability Leadership Alliance, to share ideas and experiences related to organizing the disability community.
Health Care Organizing Director
Ligia comes from a working class Latino family. All her life, her parents set a good example for her. They are honest and hardworking people who have always believed that family unity is a key ingredient in reaching individual, and collective goals and objectives. She grew up in Nicaragua. She’s a single mother living in the Portola District. When her daughter was born she started to find out about the different community services in San Francisco. Community organizations such as La Raza Centro Legal, Compañeros del Barrio, Arriba Juntos, Mission Hiring Hall, and others made her realize that we can support each other in different ways. She became a parent organizer at her daughter’s pre-school, and later she worked as parent organizer at Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth. As a single mother who was isolated and struggled to make ends meet, she understands the need of supporting systems and communities that include everyone as a member of the society. She wants to stand for changes in the way our city marginalizes seniors and persons with disabilities.
Senior and Disability University and Computer Classes
Pi Ra (alias Disabled Senior in Training) has a background in Paratransit services, computer programming, pedestrian safety organizing, and communal living. He has worked as a short order cook (and how would you like your eggs?), goat farmer, house painter, and landscaper. He manages the Senior & Disability University (SDU) and Computer Training programs at SDA. SDU provides Community Organizing Training connected to senior and disability issues. The Computer Training program offers ongoing supportive one-on-one free basic computer usage skills to anyone who is just too afraid to try it on their own.
Sarah was hired by Planning for Elders in December 2008 (before the organization became part of Senior and Disability Action), and she has loved the job since the beginning. Before that she was a worker-owner at Rainbow Grocery Cooperative for over 10 years. She completed her Master’s in Public Health from San Jose State University in May 2008. Sarah has two children who keep her going when everything else gets hard.
Theresa grew up in a tight-knit community with the belief that we must always think and act in terms of 7 generations- the three before us and the three to follow. Thirty two years ago she settled in “the village” of North Beach and started serving her community first as a nurse at the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center and later as a speaker at the preschool, a college counselor to first generation college students and as an advocate to seniors. In 2013 she and her son received an Ellis Act Notice which propelled her into the world of activism, organizing the fight to keep her home and her community intact. With the support of Steve Collier of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic and under the tutelage of Gen Fujioka of Chinatown Community Development, she co-founded the North Beach Tenants Committee. The goal of this committee is to inform residents of their rights and keep neighbors apprised of the current housing crisis and what our City government is doing to preserve San Francisco for future generations. Her “community” now includes all of San Francisco. Theresa wanted to work with SDA staff after seeing an action at City Hall and SDU. She has brought her powerful experience and energy to SDA, where she will continue to fight evictions and improve housing.
Freddy is the new housing organizer at SDA! He was born in SF and has been dedicated to fighting for justice & the rights of the underserved, the violated, and communities in need of support. Although his recent background was working at Housing Rights Committee of SF with many senior, disabled, singles, and families who were living in substandard and at risk subsidized housing, he has worked in different capacities at other organizations fighting for tenants rights. Housing justice for All! It is a right, not a privilege. He adores doggies, loves creative arts, and practices an all-being-loving-spirituality!
Survival School Organizer
Dasom is passionate about community knowledge building and disability justice. They are a Survival School Organizer and Administrative Assistant at SDA, and they work to connect seniors and disabled people with resources and services in San Francisco. They have been a part of organizing efforts around disability, decarceration, and labor rights since 2015. They believe in and are committed to building inclusive movements.
Consumer Rights Organizer
Peter has a deep belief in our collective power to build a just society that values and listens to its people. Before joining SDA, Peter has worked on education, housing, and labor issues. He is particularly grateful to have worked with and learned from amazing people on a campaign for trauma-informed schools in DC with Parents Amplifying Voices in Education. When not in the office, Peter likes exploring the nature in and around San Francisco (there’s so much of it!), spending time with his partner and their friends, enjoying warm beverages in good mugs, and attempting to not let himself get distracted as he reads things.
Community Organizer and Educator
Raia is excited to contribute to an organization working to make San Francisco more livable for seniors and people with disabilities. She comes to SDA after ten years of living in New York City, where she organized against policing and tenant displacement in Brooklyn with Equality for Flatbush. Previously, she worked on a campaign to end the tipped minimum wage in New York state with Restaurant Opportunities Center-NYC. She was born and raised in San Francisco, and her family’s experience of facing an Ellis Act eviction in 2001 motivated her to fight against urban displacement in her home city. She’s passionate about economic justice, especially for people who have been excluded from traditional labor organizing (including prisoners, care workers, unemployed people, seniors, and sick and disabled people). Outside of work, she loves to read, write poetry and creative nonfiction, participate in study groups, see live music, spend time outdoors, hang out with friends and family, and sleep in whenever possible.
And thank you to our extraordinary volunteers who keep SDA running!