Leanne Sajor

Program Coordinator for Economic Policy and Human Rights, International Network for Economic, Social & Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net)
Nationality: Filipina
Living in: New York City, US
Fields of work: gender, human rights, migration, feminist movement building, environment/sustainable development, and amplifying and articulating socio-economic alternatives.

“Courage is integral to my commitment to working towards transformative change because challenging the status quo and taking leaps towards alternative futures requires it. Courage is essential in order to engender the justice and liberation we want to see within ourselves, interpersonally, in our communities and within institutions of power. It drives us to act, take risks and speak truth to power.

I believe that inequality is not inevitable but a result of intersecting systems of oppression designed to serve powerful financial and political interests. My parents were political prisoners during the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines, and I learned from our family and community’s experience as well as my work that courage is not only a means of survival but also a way of affirming and living our deepest values.”
— Leanne Sajor

Leanne Sajor is from the Philippines and lives in her adopted community of Queens, New York City. She has spent the past 10 years as a feminist organiser and advocate, working with grassroots groups and civil society organisations to address inequalities and amplify social justice agendas. She enjoys facilitating political education programmes, organising campaigns, designing and coordinating participatory research projects and leading strategic discussions to support feminist movement building, socio-economic justice and the rights of immigrants.

Leanne is presently Program Coordinator for Economic Policy and Human Rights at the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net). She facilitates the collective efforts of 54 member organisations towards building a shared systemic critique of the dominant economic system and articulating alternatives. She organises projects that advance mutual learning solidarity and collective action; that link diverse communities to address deepening inequalities; and that challenge dispossession amid abundance as well as environmental degradation and climate change.

Leanne was previously a Program Officer for the Feminist Development Justice programme at the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) in Thailand, working with feminist movements to promote a redistributive model of development and to place grassroots women’s voices at the centre of development policies. At APWLD she managed a campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would later grow into an initiative confronting corporate power and trade agreements.

When Leanne was 20, she co-founded the Renaissance Charter School for Innovation in East Harlem, New York City, working with parents, students, community leaders and progressive educators to build a community school and address educational inequalities. She co-designed a teaching model to address students’ academic and social needs and promote leadership, activism and experiential learning. She also founded a school-wide programme for out-of-state practicums allowing students to take knowledge from the classroom into real-world applications by connecting them with community-based social justice organisations.

Leanne is an advisor and co-facilitator for the Asia-Pacific region at FRIDA, the Young Feminist Fund, and has served on the board of the Sadie Nash Leadership Project. She holds a BA (Hons.) in political science and women’s and gender studies from the City University of New York. 

Twitter: @leannesajor

“What gives me hope are activists, especially working women, and frontline communities that are confronting and winning against powerful forces that threaten their ability to live in dignity. As an immigrant, I am inspired by movements in both the global South and the global North that are coming together despite inequalities, violent repression and shrinking civil society space to take action, build emergent strategies, break isolation and nurture deep solidarities to claim their rights.

It gives me hope that in the face of a consuming and unjust socio-economic project that promotes patriarchy, exploitation, militarism, discrimination and division, people still struggle for transformative change. Challenging inequalities requires strong movements, and I hope to contribute to the collective work to gradually shift the balance of power to those who have carried the impacts of economic and environmental injustice for far too long.”
— Leanne Sajor