Founder + President
Ciora Thomas a Pittsburgh native, founder and Executive Director of Sisters PGH developed in 2013, advocating for transgender rights within the social and economic realms in order to continue the demarginalization of the trans and nonbinary communities of Pittsburgh. SisTers PGH has since then opened a drop-in space for Trans and nonbinary people where they are able to obtain resources and temporary housing through the organization with a plan to gain employment in order to transition into permanent affordable housing.
Ciora is one of only a few Transwomen of color leaders in Pittsburgh, speaking truth to power about women's rights, systematic transphobia, racism, oppression, affordable housing and everything encompassing trans inclusion with a black trans intersectional and unapologetic approach in order to bring the very lived experiences of trans people to the front lines. Knowing the struggles that inherit our nation at large she strives to make a difference in forwarding the reassurance of equality everywhere while being a strong advocate and movement of action for the transgender population of Pittsburgh. In the struggles that many of the LGBTQIA community faces she has lived through it and has gained great knowledge on how to lead and bring success in bettering the lives of those who struggle to survive in communities not built for there independence or growth.
Vanessa Carter is 27-year-old black trans entrepreneur who started her own business called Carter's Elite Cleaning Services which has a high focus on employing communities that do not have access to equal employment including her very own trans communities of Pittsburgh. As a TWOC she has also had to endure what many black trans women have had to experience including homelessness, drug addiction, sex work, and incarceration. Through the years she always had a goal to own her own business while helping others even when she could barely stand on her own. She has finally had the strength to become her own person living her truth beautifully, bravely and unapologetically while never forgetting the young woman she was that molded the grown woman she is now.
As vice chair, Vanessa plans on focusing on housing, our education system and jail systems that abuse our trans communities of Pittsburgh. She will continue to be a voice for those with no voice inside the very systems we are silenced as trans people.
ARia Lynn Copeland,
Aria Lynn Copeland is a young transgender woman of color (TWOC) born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. She first got her start in social justice work when she was 13 years old through the Northview Heights Family Support Center as a Youth Ambassador for the Youth led program Staying Alive. She went to work with programs like Pitt University Health Studies, Garden of Peace Project and Sisters PGH.
She is a radical social justice agent for change and stands for the lives of black transwomen across the country.
Daeja Baker grew in the north side of Pittsburgh. Through her childhood she played soccer and served on student council. Daeja achieved her BFA and MFA at Chatham University. Daeja’s writing has been published in Chatham’s The Minor Bird journal, Miami University journal, IDK Magazine, and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Daeja helped to start and co-chair Chatham’s Relay for Life where she gained leadership and fundraising experience. In August of 2017 Daeja and a collective planned and executed the Black Brilliance March and Gathering in Homewood. Daeja has been focusing on her writing and advocacy for mental health patients, as well as herself.
Celeste Scott brings over decade of organizing and activism experience to SisTers PGH as the Housing Chair. She is currently the Housing Justice Organizer for Pittsburgh United, a coalition of community, labor, faith, and environmental organizations committed to advancing the vision of a community and economy that work for all people. Celeste led the fight to win and fund Pittsburgh’s first-ever city-wide affordable housing legislation, the Housing Opportunity Fund.
Brittani D. Murray
Brittani D. Murray graduated in 2012 with a BSBA in Accounting and Finance and came aboard to help solidify and transform the internal process with SisTers Fiscal Sponsor. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, as an activist and organizer in the city of Pittsburgh, Brittani has worked on multiple campaigns surrounding Trans Rights, LGBTQIA Equality, Police Brutality, Race Analysis, and Intersectional Women's Rights.
Alex is currently an MD/PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh and studies medicine with a large research focus on community-level oxidative stress. He is interested in health/environmental education, programming and advocacy related to the harmful respiratory effects of environmental toxin exposure. Back home in Virginia, Alex received a BA in East Asian Languages/Literatures (focus: Mandarin Chinese) and a BS in Biology. Alex has served as a member of the executive board as well as the press/publicity/communications chair for the Charlottesville-Albemarle (hometown) NAACP.