Cori Frazer
Executive Director

Cori, a nonbinary person wearing glasses, smiles at the camera[They/Them]

Cori Frazer is an Autistic and queer/nonbinary activist and director of the Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy. Cori is a social worker; they recieved their MSW from Edinboro University of PA in 2018. They received their BA in Social Work and a certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 2013.

Cori previously served as an intern with Education Rights Network, a grassroots project of One Pennsylvania, which pushes for educational equity for students of color and students with disabilities in Pittsburgh Public Schools and across the state. Cori has also been afforded the honor of serving on the Mayor of Pittsburgh’s LGBTQIA+ Council and the City of Pittsburgh/Allegheny County Taskforce on Disability. Cori was named one of the Incline’s Who’s Next in Education for their work as a young person in education advocacy. In their spare time Cori writes, with work in publications by Autonomous Press, End the Silence Campaign, a few zines, and more than a few letter to the editor sections.

Opal M.
Assistant Director

opal, a white person with blue eyes and short, dark blond hair[They/Them]

Opal is an autistic, disabled, queer/nonbinary parent of autistic and disabled children. Opal brings 25+ years of experience in social work, community organizing, and activism, in spaces and groups such as ACT!Up and the New Sanctuary Movement. Opal has a talent (and love!) for navigating systems, and learning complex rules structures – they have a knack for social work, advocacy, case management, and service coordination. Opal has spent many years learning how to be competent at public facing work, leading many workshops, speaking on panels, serving on nonprofit boards and advisory councils, and most recently served as the ED of New Sanctuary Pittsburgh.

Opal has deep and abiding love for growing things, green spaces, and the mindful stillness that comes with being fifteen miles from the nearest human heartbeat. Capybaras make then squeal with glee. Singing makes them feel like they belong in their skin. They miss the ocean deep in their bones, every single day.

Jess Benham
Director of Development

A black and white photo of Jess smiling[She/Her]

Jessica is an Autistic doctoral student in Communication and a master’s student in Bioethics at the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a master’s degree in communication studies from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her primary research interests lie in investigating the rhetorical and ethical constructions of disability in society. Her thesis, Proud to be Autistic: Metaphorical Construction and Salience of Cultural and Personal Identity in #StopCombatingMe, presents research on Autistic self-advocacy through a neurodiversity perspective. A firm believer in the value of Autistic culture, Jessica is also an advocate for Autistic rights, interested in creating sensory friendly spaces in educational settings, increasing access to IEPs for Autistic children in public schools, helping parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals better understand Autistic people, and reducing barriers to employment for Autistic adults. Heavily involved in Pittsburgh disability advocacy, Jess was recognized in 2016 as an Autistic Scholars Fellow by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Eli Kurs-Lasky
Project Coordinator

Eli smirks at the camera.[He/Him]

Eli is a vibrant Autistic young adult who has always had a passion for words.  He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where he majored in English Writing and Sociology, and received a certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.  During his undergraduate years, Eli co-founded the University of Pittsburgh’s SDA (Students for Disability Advocacy) organization. There, he held a board position for two years and helped organize, lead, and participate in a conference for disability studies.  Eli has done other work within the disability community including leading a presentation regarding accessibility, speaking on several panels about his own experiences, and running a workshop to help others learn and hone self-advocacy skills. Eli enjoys exploring different artistic endeavors, most notably creative writing, photography (self-taught), and teaching himself how to beatbox.