Regional Director - Hawaiʻi
"I believe strongly in the power of communities to create lasting change. Like the Joyful Heart Foundation, ending violence against women and girls is my life's work. My particular passion is linking violence against women and girls to an anti-oppression framework that also addresses the importance of maintaining our health and well-being as advocates, organizations, and community members. What better place to bring all this together than at the Joyful Heart Foundation? I'm thrilled to be of service to Joyful Heart and my adopted community of Hawaiʻi by fulfilling the vision of Joyful Heart and my own vision of a world of peace, justice and balance."
Kata Issari has been working in the field of sexual and domestic violence for 30 years. She is an advocate, educator, fundraiser, therapist and community activist with over 20 years experience as a manager, organizational consultant and anti-oppression trainer. After completing her MSW at the University of Michigan, Kata established the first clinical program and 24-hour rape crisis line, at the U of M campus' Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center. She has served on the boards of the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Advocates for Abused and Battered Lesbians (now the Northwest Network) and the Women's Funding Alliance in Seattle. Kata has lectured throughout the U.S. on a variety of issues related to sexual and domestic violence.
She is a founding member of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence and is currently a consultant/trainer for the Advocacy Learning Center, a project of Praxis International and Manavi. Originally from Iran, Kata immigrated to the U.S. as a child and currently lives in Honolulu, where for over a decade she managed PACT Family Peace Center, a domestic violence program serving survivors, batterers and children exposed to domestic violence. While at Family Peace Center, Kata was instrumental in helping to design and implement Namelehuapono, the only existing culturally-based, domestic violence intervention for Native Hawaiian and Polynesian survivors and offenders. She also led the development of the Keiki Safe Project, a school-based counseling and community response model for children exposed to domestic violence and collaborated to secure federal funding for PACT Family Peace Center's award as one of ten national sites for the Department of Justice's Safe Start Promising Practices initiative, both research partnerships with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.