After enjoying a diverse and rather eclectic work history in the private sector, Evan LeVang’s career in nonprofit community service began in 1993 at Resource for Independent Living (RIL) in Sacramento, CA, an independent living center serving people with disabilities. Hired on a “one-day contract” to help collate stacks of printed grant proposals, Evan impressed the office manager enough to be asked back for the next day … and then the next. He learned about the disability rights movement’s history and the independent living philosophy and strongly identified with the struggle for equality, dignity and inclusion. Those few days turned into years at RIL, where Evan first worked as a direct service provider and then later as a fledgling community organizer.
After achieving some success leading a group of volunteers to increase affordable and accessible housing in Sacramento in 1998, Evan was hired by the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) to help lead a statewide advocacy campaign to recruit, train and manage local disability community organizers stationed at 12 independent living centers from Santa Barbara to San Diego.
In his work with CFILC, Evan eventually caught the attention of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest labor unions in the United States. In the year 2000, Evan accepted a position as the statewide Coalition Director by the SEIU State Council. He says that the job offer by SEIU felt, for a community organizer, like “being called up the big leagues!” After two years with the State Council, Evan took a position as Community Organizer for SEIU Southern California Local IHSS Workers Union which was engaged in a ferocious, multi-year struggle with both the LA County and San Bernardino Boards of Supervisors for fair wages and decent working conditions for approximately 90,000 IHSS homecare workers. It proved to be a demanding “pressure-cooker” of a job, with high expectations and long hours. However, Evan gained invaluable experience through the process, learning political organizing, mass mobilization tactics, strategic communications and even the proper application of non-violent civil disobedience. During his time with SEIU Evan was twice named California Community Organizer of the Year by the SEIU State Council.
Finally, the road led to Chico and the Disability Action Center (known then as “Independent Living Services of Northern California [ILSNC]) in 2004. Evan was honored to be chosen to carry on the work of departing Executive Director, Rocky Burks, who had guided and built ILSNC for the previous 17 years. Evan had met Rocky and been an admirer of his commitment and passion for disability rights back in his early days back at RIL in Sacramento. He has thoroughly enjoyed leading the organization and has been dedicated to maintaining and even expanding its reputation as a leader among California independent living centers.
In his personal life, Evan enjoys spending time with his family and is interested in music, literature, visual arts, performing arts, history, politics, carpentry and assorted hobbies.
Evan LeVang’s Organizational Affiliations:
- Executive Director, Disability Action Center, Inc.
- Executive Director, Friends of Independent Living, a community benefit nonprofit
- Area 3 Agency on Aging, Advisory Council; Member; Past President
- Shasta County IHSS Advisory Council, Chair
- Glenn County IHSS Advisory Council, Chair
- Disability Organizing Group for Initiating Total Equality (DOGFITE), Founder
- California IHSS Coalition, Past Chair
- California State Budget Coalition (working title), Co-founder
- Butte County Adult Services Coordinating Council, Past Chair
- Butte County Health Care Coalition, Member