The vision of CAARSEA is for the Colonial area to be a community united to overcome racial injustice, where diversity is welcome, encouraged, celebrated and valued.
We work together to create and support systemic change at a local level in areas such as the schools, police and government structures.
We respond directly to issues of discrimination, racism, and social inequity in our community.
We raise awareness, model and facilitate courageous conversations, and provide resources for community learning and engagement.
Unhoused Community Liaison
My Name is Rachel and I have lived in Lafayette Hill for over 35 years. I live with my partner of 25 years Cano and our 2 kids Jordan and Azlyn. I went all the way through Colonial School District. I practiced doing hair locally and worked my way into a few law firms for the last 8 years before Covid hit. I spent literally years at home afraid to live. Suffering from Debilitating depression and anxiety. The thought of getting a job and being in the public again was something that seemed impossible for me.
The murder of George Floyd changed me completely. It made me wake up. I had all the time during that time so I paid close attention and saw so many things that needed change. That’s when I found CAARSEA and I became a member. I was still terrified to go outside so I never made the protests but I was completely invested at this point and needed to do more. I watched every single minute of the trial and cried like a baby as they read the verdict. I was eager to be involved with people who wanted to make drastic much needed changes and were not afraid of the backlash.
I joined the outreach for our unhoused neighbors 15 months ago. For the first time in literally 3 years, I found myself outside doing things for this outreach. Every single day I was working towards collecting things for our neighbors. CAARSEA has become so important to me and my mental health. I feel I have a purpose again. I am humbled to have the opportunity to work and serve with these fierce and powerful women.
Code Blue Shelter Lead
Gail has lived in the Colonial Area community for 14 years. Gail has over 20 years of experience in community activism in Philadelphia and other surrounding areas. When the call of action was presented to Gail to join the CAARSEA leadership team, with no hesitation, she answered with a firm “yes”. Gail firmly believes that all citizens should have equal rights and opportunities. Her involvement with community programs throughout her life has aided in the emergence of her passion to join CAARSEA in bringing social equity to past in the Colonial community. When she leaves this earth, her aspiration is to have inspired all to open their minds and embrace all that God has planned for themselves, the community, the country, and the world.
Lorrie has been a resident of the Colonial area for the past 18 years. She has two adult children, one of whom graduated from PW High School. In addition to CAARSEA, Lorrie works with a non-profit which focuses on the needs of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals in the Philadelphia area, as well as reducing their rate of recidivism. She has also served as the Events Chair for an art-therapy non-profit.
Lorrie felt moved to join the CAARSEA leadership team during the George Floyd tragedy. As a mother of African American children, she is acutely aware of the fine line that exists in the relationship between police and the Black community and is driven by her desire to create and live in a community that 1.) is safe and welcoming to all — including our neighbors, families and visitors of color, and 2.) will serve as allies to POC wherever and whenever injustices arise. She enjoys being a part of an organization that actively creates opportunities for neighbors at large to unite and learn about and from one another.
Bridget has been a resident of Plymouth Township since 2013 where she lives with her husband John and two kids, Brady and Maggie. Bridget began her activism in 2016 with the Women's March on Philadelphia. Issues like gender equality, equal pay and paid leave had always been front of mind until June 2020 and the murder of George Floyd. Her favorite thing about CAARSEA is how the community effort toward anti-racism has brought so many together (mostly virtually!). She plans to work every day to fight the injustices of systemic racism and hopefully teach her kids to do the same.
Sonia Cooper Pinkney
Sonia is a wife, mom of three, and a Plymouth Township resident for almost a decade. She is honored to be a part of the CAARSEA core team and aims to work at advocating for an anti-racist society. In addition to CAARSEA, Sonia is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and has led multiple diversity-related initiatives through her employer. She was drawn to CAARSEA because of the opportunity to impact at a local level. Sonia believes that communication and change at the local level can create a lasting difference for generations to come.
Originally from New Orleans, Juliet has called the Philadelphia area home for the last 16 years. She has resided in Lafayette Hill since April 2017 with her husband, Chris, and two children, Ben (8) and Genevieve (5). Juliet is an educator focused on access and equity issues in her professional work as well as in her public advocacy efforts. Her dedication to CAARSEA is related to her desire to see the community in which she raises her children demonstrate inclusivity and fight against injustice. Her favorite part about being involved with CAARSEA is the friendships and connections she has developed with the many inspiring people within the group.
Social Media & Marketing
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Heather set up roots in the Colonial area in 2005 in Conshohocken. She moved to Whitemarsh in 2011 where she lives with her husband Jeff and two daughters, Hannah and Maggie. Heather received her BA and MBA from Philadelphia University (now Jefferson) in international business. She has worked in various non-profit development and healthcare marketing positions, helping underserved communities in the Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Her passion to join CAARSEA stems from her desire to live and raise her family in a community that values diversity and where all members of the community feel safe and heard. While she is still learning and listening, Heather is committed to using her voice and privilege to stand up for injustices and to be a better ally. She has found “her people” in CAARSEA and is most grateful for the incredible relationships that she has developed. through this organization.
Melissa Gartenberg Livney
Elections & Policy
Melissa moved to Lafayette Hill in 2007, she lives with her husband (a PW grad), their dog, and their two children, both of whom attend elementary school in Colonial School District. She works as a clinical psychologist serving older adults, many of whom are in families affected by dementia. Melissa grew up in a very racially and religiously diverse town in Bergen County, close to New York City, where awareness of and attention to diversity and efforts towards anti-racism, though not always successful, were an integral part of local awareness. She was drawn to leadership in CAARSEA because she sees the group as an important force in leading a conversation, providing a forum for education, and building bridges throughout the Colonial area.
Youth & Schools Committee Chair
Monica Salvia has lived in Plymouth Township with her husband for eleven years, along with their daughter and twin boys. Inspired her neighbors’ outpouring of care in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, she moved from a (mostly) social media activist to attending CAARSEA events, and now volunteers on the CAARSEA Board. Monica brings her professional expertise in volunteer management, event planning, and higher ed advancement to CAARSEA as chair of the Youth + Schools Committee. Her goal is to connect more deeply with her neighbors toward an inclusive and equitable community.
Gail has lived in Whitemarsh Township with her tween son and spouse for over 15 years. Originally, they moved here to be close to her job teaching large animal science in Philadelphia. Gail has had a passion for peace and equity since participating in the Peace Child performing arts exchange movement in her teens. 25 years growing as an educator has both informed and reignited a drive to participate in community level advocacy for equitable change. After witnessing the moment of solidarity sparked by the George Floyd Circle the Park action she is encouraged by the sense of urgency and unity in our community. Together we can weave a stronger and even more beautiful community for all.
Jamina Clay is an educator who sees herself as an equity focused, transformative leader. She has experience in the Philadelphia region as an Assistant Principal, Principal, Principal Coach and now Assistant Superintendent of Schools.
Jamina moved to our area from Long Island, New York where she was raised. She obtained her Bachelors degree from the University of Delaware and completed her masters at Dowling College and Hofstra University.
Jamina is finishing her doctorate at Gwynedd Mercy University where she completed a dissertation examining the experiences of Black children attending predominantly White high schools. She graduates in May of 2022.
Locally she serves on the Colonial School Board of directors and the historical area review board. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority and an active member of Jack and Jill of America. A favorite quote of hers is:
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is-what are you doing for others" by Martin Luther King Jr.
She believes that through her work with CAARSEA, she is able to do for others. She believes that only be adopting anti-racist practices and working toward equity can we improve relationships and quality of life for families in the Colonial school district area.
Jamina is the proud mother of 5 amazing children and enjoys spending time with them, or talking about them, as they are her pride, her joy, her WHY.
Kristen Frederick Leonard
Social Media & Marketing
Kristen has lived in Plymouth Township for two years and has taught yoga and fitness classes in the Colonial area for the last 12 years. She currently teaches classes at Yoga Home, has taught Anatomy and Physiology for Yoga Teachers for Teacher Training programs in the area, and is currently developing a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program with Yoga Home. She graduated from Methacton High School in 1999 and earned a Bachelors Degree from Penn State University in 2003.
Her husband, Shaun Leonard, grew up in Conshohocken, graduated from Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, and helped run his family's business, Murray Kia, for many years. She also has a son, Shaun Jr, who is in first grade at Plymouth elementary School and will soon start his second year of quickball with Plymouth Little League.
Social Media & Marketing
Elizabeth, along with her husband, has been a Whitemarsh Township resident since 2015. She is a mother to their four-year-old daughter and two-year-old son. Elizabeth received her BA of Psychology and Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Widener University. She has worked as a physical therapist in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas since 2010 in skilled nursing, sub-acute, and home care settings.
Megan grew up in Whitemarsh Township, attending schools operated by the Sisters of Saint Joseph before heading to Washington, DC for college. She studied Psychology and Secondary Education at American University. As a politically active student, she attended the Women’s March in 2017 and the March for Our Lives in 2018. Megan currently works as a Constituent Services Advisor for a Montgomery County State Representative and serves as Co-Director of CAARSEA’s Events Committee. She is particularly passionate about ending all forms of voter suppression, including felon disenfranchisement, and reforming our nation’s broken criminal justice system. Understanding the importance of local politics and grassroots organizing, Megan is beyond excited to join such a dedicated group of individuals leading the effort to overcome racial injustice in our community.