Equality California Forms Statewide Steering Council of Community Leaders Posted on September 23, 2015

Equality California (EQCA), California’s largest statewide LGBT rights organization, has announced the formation of the EQCA Equality Council, a new advisory board that has been formed to better inform and develop strategic organizational policy. The council will support EQCA’s new mission by increasing visibility of the organization, assisting EQCA with outreach and supporting EQCA staff in areas corresponding to each council member’s expertise.“The members of the Equality Council are respected leaders and bring a broad range of skills and talents to Equality California,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “They will help shape and advance our newly-focused mission to advance LGBT civil rights and social justice.”

The members of the Equality Council are:

Daniel Allender of Los Angeles is an attorney at the law firm of Irell & Manella LLP. His pro-bono work has included immigration applications and helping victims of loan modification fraud.

Eric Andresen of San Francisco is president of West Coast Property Management and the San Francisco Apartment Association. He is also the National Vice President of Scouts for Equality.

Aaron A. Avery of Sacramento is a partner at Hefner Law with particular expertise in business insolvency matters.

Taylor Bazley of Los Angeles is a government relations consultant at Bob Burke & Company and a recent graduate of the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs.

Mike Cavalluzzi of West Hollywood is a criminal defense lawyer at the law firm of Cavalluzzi & Cavalluzzi, who defends clients in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange Counties.

Tina Choi of Los Angeles is a partner at Englander, Knabe & Allen and a government affairs and land use specialist.

Ivan Dominguez of West Hollywood is Founder and co-CEO of Creative Spirits Lab.

Katherine M. Forster of Los Angeles is a partner in the employment department at Munger, Tolles & Olson, past president of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, and a member of the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association.

Chris Frahm of San Diego is a shareholder with the San Diego firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schrek and a frequent speaker before a wide variety of professional and community forums.

Susan Jerich of Los Angeles represents public safety officers and unions for the law firm Silver, Hadden, Silver & Levine and previously served as a San Francisco assistant district attorney and assistant U.S. attorney.

La Jolla residents Tom Maddox, a family medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente, and husband Randy Clark, a CPA, have been together over 30 years, and were among seven couples who sued the state of Nebraska for refusing to recognize their marriages.

Scott Malzahn of Los Angeles is a partner at Baker Marquart and focuses on business, tort and intellectual property disputes. He also teaches Constitutional Law at USC Gould School of Law.

Nicole Opper of San Francisco is a documentary filmmaker who directed and produced the Emmy‐nominated feature documentary “Off and Running” and is currently finishing her second feature documentary, “Búscame: Search for Me.”

Ernie Santora of Palm Springs is president of 1st Community Insurance Services, has served as president of Caballeros Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus, and is a member of the Partners for Life program at Desert AIDS Project.

Woody Sides of Long Beach is vice president of EnvisionRx, a national pharmacy benefit management company and a long standing board member of the Alliance for Housing & Healing.

Jeff Towns of Gardena is owner and general counsel for Clear View Sanitarium and Convalescent Center. He has served as a board member and program committee chair for the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation.

Mark Vargas of Los Angeles is president and CEO of FAVOR International Brands and serves as a member of the California Coastal Commission.

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Equality California is California’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization focused on creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org