Director of Policy & Strategy
Leah Obias has worked as a community organizer, educator, and advocate. They have a deep background in community organizing, as well as experience working in local government, and 12 years of experience developing grassroots organizations of immigrant, working-class youth and domestic workers in New York City.
Leah Obias is a queer, Filipinx community organizer and activist. They bring to Race Forward over 15 years of organizing, policy, and movement building experience in youth, immigrant, and low-wage worker spaces.
As campaign coordinator for Damayan Migrant Workers Association, Leah spent a decade building immigrant worker power to combat wage theft, labor trafficking and employment fraud of migrant guest workers. Leah was instrumental in developing Damayan’s anti-trafficking campaign, Baklas (“break free” or “dismantle”), and the National Domestic Workers Alliance’s (NDWA) Beyond Survival Campaign. Through Damayan’s leadership in the NDWA, Leah also contributed to nationally-scaled efforts to build the domestic workers movement as well as cross-sectoral movements of workers organizing outside formal, traditionally unionized workplaces.
Prior to joining Race Forward, Leah spent two years helping to create New York City’s Office of Labor Policy and Standards, the country’s largest city-level labor rights enforcement body, where Leah’s focus was to build relationships with worker centers and unions in high-risk industries, and ensure accountability and transparency to stakeholders.
As a young person, Leah was a founding member of the Filipinx youth organization Ugnayan Youth for Justice and Social Change. There, Leah developed campaigns addressing militarization and human rights in the Philippines, and popular education programs on structural racism and colonization.
Leah currently serves on the Board of Directors of Damayan, and the Community Funding Committee of activist-led grantmaker the North Star Fund.