For more than two decades, Pilar Schiavo has fought for her community, working on the issues of housing, job training, economic development, guaranteed health care and environmental justice.
The daughter of a logger and a waitress, Pilar saw firsthand the challenges families face when they struggle to make ends meet.
When her father fought his first battle with cancer as a result of his Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam, it was clear he would be unable to continue the physically demanding job of logging, so he transitioned into being an electrician. Her parents then started a small electrical business that struggled during the recession of the early 90s, so once Pilar was in college, her dad secured a union job. For the first time, her family saw the difference that health benefits, paid sick leave and vacation, and a pension made.
Driven to help at-risk youth and understanding that the economics of a family has the biggest impact on child development, Pilar has spent her career working to uplift working families. For almost 13 years, Pilar has worked with California Nurses Association (CNA), most recently deploying nurses for disaster relief and humanitarian missions, including: California fires, national and international hurricane responses, and to a COVID-19 vaccination site in South Los Angeles to increase access where it's needed most. She's also worked with UNITE-HERE Local 11, SEIU, AFL-CIO, the San Francisco Labor Council, all with the one goal of uplifting families and ensuring all people have access to housing, health care, and a good paying job.
Pilar has been active in her community for years, initiating and co-founding West Valley Homes YES! (WVHY) to fight for permanent supportive housing for her unhoused neighbors and for those experiencing housing insecurity. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, WVHY started outreach with food and hygiene supplies that has grown to the largest homeless outreach and mutual aid program in the San Fernando Valley - reaching up to 500 neighbors in need, every weekend. Pilar also initiated and co-founded of West Valley People's Alliance to advocate more broadly for racial justice, housing people can afford, tenant protections, homelessness solutions, and environmental justice. Pilar is on the PTA at her daughter's public school, and was elected to the Leadership & School Site Councils, helping to make decisions on school budgets and priorities.
Pilar has her Masters in Labor Research & Relations from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a B.A. in American Multicultural Studies from Sonoma State University. Growing up with environmentalists as parents, Pilar chose a home near the Santa Susana Mountains to continue the tradition of hiking, finding lizards, and collecting rocks with her 8-year-old daughter, just like she did as a child. She lives with her daughter Sofia and her stepdaughter Germany in Chatsworth.