Kata Issari has been an advocate and community activist in the work to end violence gender-based violence for 35 years. She has worked as an advocate, therapist, fundraiser, clinical supervisor and administrator for grassroots, campus and national sexual assault and domestic violence organizations. She is also an organizational consultant, lecturer and anti-oppression trainer.

Originally from Iran, Kata immigrated to the U.S. as a child and grew up in California and Michigan. Kata and her family recently moved to Seattle, Washington from Honolulu, Hawaiʻi where she lived for over 19 years.

Kata is a founding member of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence. She established the first clinical and advocacy program, including a 24-hour rape crisis line, at the University of Michigan’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center. Kata has served as a board member of the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Advocates for Abused and Battered Lesbians (now the Northwest Network of Bisexual, Transgendered, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse) and the Women’s Funding Alliance in Seattle.

While in Hawaiʻi, Kata served as the Program Director of Parents And Children Together’s (PACT) Family Peace Center, a comprehensive domestic violence program serving survivors, batterers and children exposed to domestic violence. Kata was instrumental in the design and implementation of Namelehuapono, the only Hawaiian culturally based, gender-based violence intervention for Native Hawaiian and Polynesian survivors and offenders in Hawaiʻi. At PACT, Kata also provided key leadership for Keiki Safe, an innovative school-based counseling and community response initiative for children exposed to domestic violence. She also led the design of a group counseling program for battered women and their children that was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Safe Start Promising Practices initiative.

Prior to coming to Praxis International, Kata most served as the Executive Director, Hawai‘i Region of the Joyful Heart Foundation where she provided local and national leadership on Joyful Heart’s innovative programming to address sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse policy, education, and intervention. While at Joyful Heart, Kata led a statewide collaborative of non-profits, government agencies and private sector entities in the implementation of Hawaiʻi Says NO MORE, an unprecedented local effort to engage communities in ending sexual assault and domestic violence in Hawaiʻi. She also led the design and implementation of Heal the Healers Hawaiʻi, a locally-based model to address compassion fatigue in advocates and counselors at sexual/domestic violence, trafficking and/or child abuse organizations as well as worked closely with state legislators to pass landmark Hawaiʻi legislation addressing the state’s backlog of untested sexual assault evidence kits.