Consumer Rights Program Director
While Alice Chiu has been committed to public service for her entire adult life, her career actually began in radio, where she was a music show host and news announcer at both KCSF and Chinese Radio back in the 90s. She started her career in public service in 1999 as a volunteer at Asian Women’s Shelter. She has worked in public service ever since, as a bilingual advocate working with survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault at various San Francisco organizations, including AWS, SFWAR, and The Riley Center, where she also coordinated the Volunteer Program. In early 2012, she began work with the Friendship Line, a suicide prevention hotline for seniors, headquartered in San Francisco. Alice is the mother of two boys, and she enjoys cooking and taking long walks with her dog.
Senior and Disability Educator/Organizer
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.
Senior and Disability Survival School
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’s favorite food is sweet potatoes.
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.
Tony Robles is a San Francisco native and housing advocate whose work is inspired by elders who fought for the International Hotel in San Francisco’s Manilatown neighborhood. He has worked as Housing Organizing Director at Senior and Disability Action for about one year. He is a gifted writer and storyteller with two published children’s books whose stories deal with housing and gentrification in San Francisco. In 2011 he was nominated for the Pushcart Literary Award for his story, “In My Country.” Tony has extensive experience writing articles, essays, and op-ed pieces and conducting media for POOR Magazine. His work experience includes working with tenants through the Mission SRO Collaborative.
Yuji is in the office about once a week and helps keep things going!
And thank you to our extraordinary volunteers who keep SDA running!