Cori Frazer is a multiply disabled, nonbinary licensed social worker (LSW) and activist. Having worked in progressive organizing since they were a teen, they have spent the last decade working to help build strong, vibrant queer and disabled communities. Co-founder of the Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy (PCAA), Cori’s work is reflective of their deep belief in interdependence and liberatory praxis. Under Cori’s leadership and practice of innovative models of community support and mutual aid, PCAA has served hundreds of disabled adults in western and central Pennsylvania.
Cori serves on the City of Pittsburgh/Allegheny County Taskforce on Disability and the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs’ Information Sharing and Advisory Committee. Previously, Cori has worked in education justice, serving as fellow with University of Pittsburgh’s Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and as an intern with One Pennsylvania’s Education Rights Network.
In their spare time, Cori is a writer and graphic designer, with work published by Autonomous Press, Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania’s End the Silence Campaign, as well as a number of zines, guest blogs, and many letter to the editor sections.
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.
Director of Development
Since her election to the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives Jessica has stepped back from her role at PCAA. She can be contacted through her page on the PA House’s website. We are beyond proud of Jess and wish her the very best.
Co-founder of PCAA, Jessica previously served as PCAA’s Director of Development. 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 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.