CARA Convention 2021 Description of Workshops

Register  for the CARA  Convention HERE:

Workshop Descriptions

All Workshops: Tuesday, October 26 from 12:30-1:30pm via Zoom

all workshops will be recorded and posted on the CARA Website after the convention at

Guaranteed Health Care for All 

Learn about upcoming opportunities to move guaranteed health care for all Californians forward – with improved benefits, choice of providers, at less cost to you, employers, unions and the public sector. Focus will be on current efforts to get the governor to lead the way for single payer, the Healthy CA Commission, and the next steps for AB 1400 – CALCare in the next legislative session. 

Pilar Schiavo, Healthy California Now (  Pilar is the Organizer for the Healthy CA Now organization fighting to win Guaranteed health Care for all in California.  Prior to her work at Healthy CA Now, Pilar worked for the CA Nurses Association for over 13 years, most recently as a special projects coordinator.  She has years of experience working for labor unions, the SF Labor council, and as a staff to Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.                                                                                                                        

Jenni Chang, CARA, Communications Director/LA Organizer ( – Jenni has been CARA’s LA County organizer for the last 4 years, and she also became CARA’s Communications Director this past year.  Jenni is also a long-time single payer advocate, serving on the board of Healthcare-Now, and works with many organizations in the LA area as well as statewide to build strategies to win single payer. She is an E-board member of the California Democratic Party.

Kathryn Donahue, CARA V.P./Moderator                                    

Affordable Housing for All 

Housing has become one of the key issues facing California as our state becomes less and less affordable for working families, students, seniors and people with disabilities.  Our panel of experts will talk about efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing and protect existing affordable housing, and prevent homelessness.  We will also share information about current and future campaigns to provide protections to tenants so that they can stay housed and avoid eviction, find appropriate and affordable units, etc. 

Affordable Housing Development:  Nabihah Azim, Mercy Housing CA (

Ms. Azim is a Senior Project Developer at Mercy Housing CA., which develops affordable housing in CA.  She is a strong supporter of building sustainable properties that provide, safe, affordable, and enriched housing for all Californians. 

Renter’s Rights & Protections:  Francisco Duenas, Housing CA Now (

Mr. Duenas is currently the director of Housing CA Now, working to build a statewide network of tenant and housing organizations and activists.  He has years of experience working on housing justice campaigns, and with a special emphasis working with the Latino and LGBT communities.

Home Owner Associations:  Marjorie Murray, CCHOAL (

Marjorie is the founder and president of the Center for California Homeowner Association Law which provides counseling and advocacy for homeowners living in common interest developments run by Homeowner Associations.  She has been a long time member of CARA and advises CARA’s Legislative Committee on homeowner and other housing issues.

Homelessness and Seniors:  Jannie Castillo, St. Mary’s Center (

Ms. Castillo is the Hope and Justice Coordinator at St. Mary’s Center, a homeless support and service center in Oakland.  Janny also serves as a resident commissioner on the Oakland Housing Authority with a focus to protect and preserve affordable housing in Oakland.

Hene Kelly, CARA V.P./Moderator

Long Term Supports and Services (LTSS) for All 

One of CARA’s priorities is winning a long-term support and services for ALL Californians – not just those eligible for Medicaid.  Our goal is to advance a plan that would provide and fund a universal benefit as well as supporting the family care givers who choose to provide care. We will discuss various opportunities to create a benefit, either as a stand-alone benefit or as part of a guaranteed health care program.

Lindsay Imai Hong, Hand in Hand (

Lindsay is the California Director of Hand in Hand, a domestic worker organization which focuses on improving the working conditions of domestic workers.  She also staffs the Long term supports and services for all – grassroots coalition, working to achieve a universal LTSS benefit.

Amanda Ream, United Domestic Workers (

Ramon Castellblanch, CARA V.P./Moderator

Social Security for All

For the first time in many years, we have an opportunity to improve and expand Social Security benefits by changing the formula for computing COLAs, raising the benefits, eliminating barriers for applying for benefits, Scrapping the Cap to keep the program funded, and repealing the WEP/GPO. Learn about legislative and other advocacy efforts and how we can help move these efforts forward.

Rich Fiesta, Alliance for Retired Americans (

Bonnie Cediel, Social Security Fairness (

Tom Rankin, CARA V.P./Moderator

Climate Justice for All

There is no question that climate change is impacting our lives every day. The increased number of extreme heat events, power outages and wildfires threatens our health and the health of our families and communities – as well as our planet.  Leaders from two California Climate Justice organizations will talk about their work and how CARA can get involved.

Bob Yunke, Elders Climate Action (

Davis Harper, The Climate Center (

Margaret Shelleda, CARA. V.P/ Moderator

Nursing Home Reform

CARA has been working in coalition with other nursing home reform advocates for years to try and improve patient care, working conditions, infection control, etc.  The pandemic shined a light on the inadequacies at nursing homes, where many people died from Covid-19.  We have an opportunity and a more open ear by legislators to consider some big improvements at nursing homes including more transparency and accountability of the ownership entities for these homes.  

Elizabeth Halifax, UCSF School of Nursing (

Mike Dark, CA Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (

Michael Lyon, CARA V.P./Moderator