Advocacy Considerations in the Current Moment
About the Panel
2020 has brought underlying issues of inequity to the forefront, through both a global pandemic and community outrage in the movement for Black lives. Beyond forming intentional communities, what legal protections and policies can protect LGBT elders? What innovative ways are people developing alternative systems? A dearth of affordable housing has forced us to look at policy and advocacy with innovation, including legal protection and high-level policies aimed to reach LGBT elders in a diverse array of communities amidst the current public health and social justice climates.
Osman Ahmed, Moderator | NYC Council Progressive Caucus
Osman Ahmed is a policy analyst, advocate, and researcher, committed to creating systemic policy changes that positively impact marginalized communities both locally and globally. He is currently the Director of New York City Council’ Progressive Caucus and has coordinated local and national policy advocacy coalitions and campaigns aimed creating safety and prosperity for LGBTQ+ communities, undocumented immigrants, people of color, and other marginalized communities. Osman immigrated to the United States from Karachi, Pakistan in 1999 and now, as a resident of New York, organizes with local communities to create better conditions for public housing residents, eliminate police brutality, and for the rights of immigrant communities. He serves on the board of directors for CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities. Osman obtained a master’s degree in urban policy analysis from The New School and attend UCLA as an undergraduate.
Jorge Soto | National Fair Housing Alliance
Jorge Andres Soto is Associate Vice President of Policy and Advocacy with the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA). Jorge leads NFHA’s federal relations and advocates on behalf of its member organizations before Congress and federal agencies, coordinating efforts with advocacy and industry groups on civil rights matters concerning fair housing and lending issues. Jorge is also Co-Chair of the Fair Housing and Lending Task Force of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition responsible for advancing fair housing policy at the federal level. Prior to NFHA, Jorge was at Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC where he worked as a civil rights paralegal on several fair housing, fair lending, and public accommodations cases, and also conducted public policy consulting concerning employment and contracting diversity in federal financial regulatory agencies. Jorge also previously worked as a labor organizer at Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and community organizer with CRECEN/American Para Todos, Houston, Texas. Jorge earned his B.A. in History and American Studies from Wesleyan University.
Victoria Kirby York | National LGBTQ+ Task Force
Victoria Kirby York is the Deputy Director for the Advocacy & Action Department at the National LGBTQ+ Task Force where she manages and organizes at the intersections of policy, spirituality, sexuality, racial, economic and gender justice. She has been organizing in a variety of capacities over the past 16 years regarding a number of progressive issues and candidates at the federal, state, and local level. She most recently served as the Florida Director for Organizing for Action (OFA), the non-profit formed from the President’s electoral campaigns to support President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda. She has also worked in senior level roles in gubernatorial and presidential campaigns in Florida, for US Congresswoman Kathy Castor, youth education non-profits, and in the private sector.
Malita Picasso | ACLU
Malita is a California-born and New York-based attorney, and the current legal fellow at the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project. Her Skadden Foundation fellowship focuses primarily on advocating on behalf of transgender and non-binary elders who are experiencing gender-based discrimination in elder-specific settings. She sits on the board of the National Trans Bar Association, a national bar association by and for transgender legal professionals and cisgender legal professionals who care about trans rights. She has spent nearly 9 years working in various capacities in the social justice legal field and fighting for the rights of trans and non-binary people, immigrant populations, communities of color, and people otherwise impacted by poverty.
Wilfred Labiosa | Waves Ahead/SAGE Puerto Rico
Wilfred Labiosa is a community leader and organizer for more than twenty years. He has been working in the public health field for over 20 years with marginalized communities focusing in dually diagnosed Latinos and LGBT communities. He has worked as a consultant and/or supervisor, in state, national and international projects that focused on mental health, HIV/AIDS prevention, homelessness, youth, Latinos, dually diagnosed individuals, or evidence-based treatment modalities. He has been involved with LGBT and HIV organizations at a local, national, and international level for many years, as a mentor, mental health provider or evaluator. He has been recognized as an LGBT Leader and advocate in the US, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.