Lillibeth Navarro

Lillibeth Navarro

Executive Director & Founder
Communities Actively Living Independent and Free
2001-Present

Lillibeth Navarro, who considers herself a person with severe disabilities from the onset of polio as a baby, has made her indelible mark as a spiritual mentor, advocate, activist, speaker, writer, peer counselor, local and state commissionerboth in the Philippines and the United States. In the Philippines she led a youth group of the Focolare Movement and her life story was published in the Philippines’ New City Magazine in the 80’s, and in Citta Nuova, the European Magazine of the Focolare Movement in the 90’s. She spoke before crowds of hundreds during the annual Mariapolises and in her hometown she started the Bahay Buhay Project, a collaborative between the Rotary Clubs and the Ministry of Social Services and Development.

Through the Rotary International, Lillibeth Navarro got a fellowship to study printjournalism in the United States. Through her resourcefulness and industry,Lillibeth completed her BA in Print Journalism and her MA in Public Relations.She met the Disability Rights Movement in Los Angeles and established areputation as a powerful speaker, a good community builder and organizer. Shebecame recognized as a pioneer of the Disability Rights Movement when she ledthe Southern California effort to push for access to public transportation and theAmericans with Disabilities Act of 1990, getting arrested and suffering deprivationduring the 8 years of struggle.

Along with this vocation to make it better for the disabled community, she wasalso involved in the pro-life struggle, speaking at conferences and makinglegislative visits to stop the tide of euthanasia and abortion. To her credit andadvocacy, many attempts to legalize euthanasia in California have beenthwarted.

Lillibeth is also considered a current hero in the US Labor movement, particularlyby the SEIU 6434, the Union of Home Care Workers because she led theDisability Community to support the homecare workers’ rights to air wages andbenefits. In fact, until she started campaigning for them, there was a resistancein the disability community to support the homecare workers out of fear of workerstrikes. She also is a friend of Service Employees International Union (SEIU)Local 1877 in Los Angeles as she supported their campaign for higher wagesand benefits until they won their campaign late in 1997.

There is still so much more to this lady: her co-founding of the PersonalAssistance Services Council, now totally an autonomous organization. In 2001,she founded Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF), bothorganizations are currently serving thousands in the City and County of LosAngeles.

Last December 2010, she was given recognition by Philippine President BenignoAquino, III at the Malacañan Palace, Philippines as one of the OutstandingFilipino Overseas Workers for her works and advocacy to the disabledcommunity here in the USA and in the Philippines.

Lillibeth Navarro, Founder & Executive Director of CALIF, the independent livingcenter serving the 50 zip codes of Los Angeles currently serves on the PersonalAssistance Services Council (PASC) as officer-at-large and part of the ExecutiveCommittee.

In 2009, the CA Speaker of the House, Karen Bass appointed her to theCalifornia Commission on Disability Access where she was appointed Chair ofthe Accessibility Enhancement Committee. Her appointment was confirmed byAssembly Speaker John Perez in January 2011.