Advisory Board Chair

Donna has been active with PDA since 2007. She co-chaired PDA’s national “Healthcare Not Warfare” campaign, and she has spoken in 43 states, DC, Canada and Australia about the U.S. healthcare system and single-payer reform. Donna was also featured in Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary film, SiCKO.

Donna served most recently as executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation. She has been a guest on Bill Moyers’ Journal, CNN, Thom Hartmann’s show, CBS news, and numerous other programs. She blogs on PDA’s site,, Common Dreams, and DailyKos.

Donna worked from 2008 to 2013 as a national health care reform advocate and community organizer for National Nurses United/California Nurses Association. Though she was born and raised in Chicago, Donna and her husband of 40 years, Larry, now live in Denver and they have six children and 15 grandchildren.


Congressional Board Member

Rep. Barbara Lee was with PDA for our launch in 2004, and joined the PDA national board in 2006. She has appeared at several PDA events including Progressive Central in Denver, and PDA National Conferences in D.C. She is a former co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and has been a leader for progress in the Congress since succeeding the legendary Ron Dellums representing her Oakland/Berkeley-area district.

Rep. Lee sponsored legislation disavowing the preemptive war doctrine and led bipartisan efforts to end the genocide in Darfur. Standing on principle amid post-9/11 hysteria, she was the lone member of Congress to vote against the resolution broadly authorizing President Bush’s use of force. She has been a leader in the global battle against HIV/AIDS and for civil rights and civil liberties. She formally objected in Congress to certifying Ohio’s electoral votes after the 2004 election.


Congressional Board Member

Rep. Raul Grijalva joined the PDA National Board in 2008, and he has spoken at several PDA events. He has championed PDA priorities including economic justice, protecting the environment, defending civil liberties, and promoting universal healthcare. His district in Arizona includes seven separate Native American Tribes, and he is a strong advocate of Native American sovereignty. Rep. Grijalva’s father was a migrant worker from Mexico who entered the U.S. through the Bracero Program. He is a leading voice for humane, comprehensive immigration reform. Before his election to Congress, he served in public office for decades—onn the Tucson school board, and as a member and chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors.


Congressional Board Member

Rep. Jim McGovern joined the PDA national board in 2007, and has spoken at several PDA events including Progressive Central conferences and Progressive Round Tables. He currently serves as a ranking member of the House Rules Committee, and the House Budget Committee. A Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1997, he’s a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a leader on human rights, ending hunger, and other PDA priority issues. Rep. McGovern was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and earned a Masters of Public Administration at American University in Washington, D.C. He was a staff member for Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota (to whom he is not related) and for Rep. Joe Moakley before entering the House.


Advisory Board Member

Keith Ellison is the Attorney General for the state of Minnesota. The former Minnesota Congressman joined the PDA national board in 2013, and has appeared at several PDA events including Progressive Central conferences and Progressive Round Tables. He served as a Co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and represented Minnesota’s 5th District that includes the City of Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs. Ellison’s guiding philosophy is based on “generosity and inclusion” and his priorities include building prosperity for working families, promoting peace, pursuing environmental sustainability, and advancing civil and human rights. Before his election to Congress, Ellison was a noted community activist and ran a civil rights, employment, and criminal defense law practice in Minneapolis, and served two terms in the Minnesota State House of Representatives. He was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and has lived in Minnesota since earning his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1990. He is the proud father of four children.


Advisory Board Member

Thom Hartmann joined the PDA National Board in 2009. He’s hosted and promoted PDA on his progressive national and internationally syndicated talk show–available in over a half-billion homes worldwide. He’s a New York Times bestselling, 4-times Project Censored Award winning author of 24 books in print in 17 languages on five continents. Talkers Magazine named Thom as the 8th most important talk show host in America in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (10th the two previous years), and for three of the past five years the #1 most important progressive host, in their “Heavy Hundred” ranking. An entrepreneur, he’s founded several successful ongoing businesses. He’s lived and worked with his wife, Louise, and their three children on several continents.

Belén Sisa

Advisory Board Member

Belén is a nationally known activist, Dreamer, and the former National Latino Press Secretary for Bernie Sanders 2020. She has appeared on MSNBC and other national media as a spokesperson advocating for DACA recipients. During the last few months of 2017, Belén was arrested two times doing civil disobedience in Washington, D.C. demanding that Congress pass a Clean Dream Act. During her second arrest, she was a member of the #Dream7 participating in a 6-day jail strike and hunger strike in the D.C. jail.

Belén was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and arrived to the United States with her family when she was 6 years old. Her family settled in Arizona where she still resides. In 2012, after graduating from high school in Florence, Arizona, Belén became active in the immigrant rights community and in politics when she witnessed the effects it had on her family and personal life as an undocumented student. Florence Az. happens to be the home of the state’s biggest federal prisons and immigrant detention centers.

Belén helped organize student protests and marches at Arizona State University putting pressure on the state and leading eventually to winning in-state tuition for DACA students at public universities in Arizona. Her passion to give back led her to work for Mi Familia Vota in 2015 where she registered minority voters and organized citizenship fairs for low-income families. She later joined the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign as a staffer in December 2015.

In 2018 Belén became the first in her family to graduate with a college degree. She graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in History. At ASU, Belén co-founded the new student organization, Undocumented Students for Education Equity, with the mission to expand the individual, group, and institutional capacity to openly address the representation of undocumented students, contribute to a safe and respectful campus environment, and for equitable access to education and educational resources.

Before joining the national staff with the Bernie Sanders campaign, she was the Communications Director for Next Gen Arizona, working to register thousands of young people to vote in the state.


Advisory Board Member

​Marjorie Cohn is a prominent activist / scholar who lectures throughout the world and provides legal and political commentary about human rights and U.S. foreign policy. She is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and Deputy Secretary General of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.

A longtime criminal defense attorney, her most recent book is “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues,” which will be published soon in an updated edition. Her other books include “Cameras in the Courtroom: Television and the Pursuit of Justice;” Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law;” “Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent;” and “The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse.” She is a commentator for HuffingtonPost, Truthout, Truthdig, Consortium News, CommonDreams, and ZNet.  Her work is archived at

Professor Cohn was named one of San Diego’s top attorneys in academics, and was awarded the Witkin Award for Excellence in the law teaching by the San Diego Law Library Justice Foundation. She was also given the Peace Scholar of the Year Award by the Peace and Justice Studies Association, has been listed in Who’s Who in American Law, was a recipient of the Amnesty International-San Diego, Digna Ochoa Human Rights Defender Award, and received the Santa Clara University School of Law Alumni Special Achievement Award. Professor Cohn has testified before Congress and she debated the war in Afghanistan at the prestigious Oxford Union.


Advisory Board Member

Medea Benjamin joined PDA’s National Board in 2004, and been a key leader for PDA’s “outside” strategy since our founding. A clear and effective voice for peace, she has appeared at numerous PDA events and actions. Medea is a cofounder of the peace group CODEPINK, and the international human rights organization Global Exchange. She is the author of eight books. Her latest is Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. Since the September 11, 2001 tragedy, her work to promote a U.S. foreign policy that would respect human rights and gain us allies has taken her to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.

Medea is currently campaigning to stop the use of killer drones. She has been an ally to democracy movements in the Arab Spring, including Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain, and she has taken several delegations to Israel/Palestine–including Gaza. Medea was honored as one of 1,000 exemplary women from 140 countries nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 on behalf of the millions of women who do the essential work of peace worldwide. In 2010 she received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize from the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the 2012 Peace Prize by the US Peace Memorial.


Advisory Board Member

Michael Lighty, a nationally known spokesperson and expert on Medicare for All, joined the PDA National Advisory Board in 2010. He has been a pillar of PDA’s organizing, speaking at Progressive Central events, attending Progressive Round Table meetings on the Hill, joining us at PDA leadership retreats, and functioning as emcee at the memorial for PDA founder Tim Carpenter in May 2014.

A Medicare For All Healthcare Fellow with the Sanders Institute and a Bernie Sanders 2016 and 2020 campaign national spokesperson on Medicare For All, Michael is currently a Medicare For All consultant with National Union of Healthcare Workers and is President of Healthy California Now, the state single payer coalition. He serves on the Board of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center in Oakland, CA, where he lives with his husband.

Michael Lighty was Jerry Brown’s first mayoral appointee to the Oakland Planning Commission in 1999, and was the first openly LGBTQ+ Commissioner for the Port of Oakland, appointed by Mayor Ronald Dellums in 2010. Before his work with California Nurses Association (CNA) Michael was a leader and former National Director for Democratic Socialists of America.

From 1994 until 2018, Michael worked for CNA/NNU as Director of Administration and Public Policy. He coordinated CNA’s successful effort to reverse then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rollback of CNA’s landmark hospital nurse-to-patient staffing law; he managed the campaign for the Prop 89 clean money initiative and coordinated campaigns nationally for a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street; he was lead policy analyst for a single-payer bill, the Healthy California Act.


Advisory Board Member

Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler joined PDA’s National Board in 2014. Dr. Sadler’s work in the community includes terms as a board member of the N.C. Council of Churches, Siegel Avenue Partners, and Mecklenburg Ministries, and currently he serves on the boards of Union Presbyterian Seminary, Loaves and Fishes, the Hispanic Summer Program, and the Charlotte Chapter of the NAACP.

His activism includes work with the Community for Creative Non-Violence in D.C., Durham C.A.N., H.E.L.P. Charlotte, and he has worked organizing clergy with and developing theological resources for the Forward Together/Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina. Rev. Sadler is the managing editor of the African American Devotional Bible, associate editor of the Africana Bible, and the author of Can a Cushite Change His Skin? An Examination of Race, Ethnicity, and Othering in the Hebrew Bible.

He has published articles in Interpretation, Ex Audito, Christian Century, the Criswell Theological Review, and the Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature and has essays and entries in True to Our Native Land, the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, the Westminster Dictionary of Church History, Light against Darkness, and several other publications.

Among his research interests are the intersection of race and Scripture, the impact of our images of Jesus for the perpetuation of racial thought in America, the development of African American biblical interpretation in slave narratives, the enactment of justice in society based on biblical imperatives, and the intersection of religion and politics.


Advisory Board Member

Paul Y. Song, MD, is a physician and dedicated single payer healthcare activist.

Dr. Song is the Co-chair of the Campaign for a Healthy California. He served as the very first visiting fellow on healthcare policy in the California Department of Insurance in 2013 and led the Courage Campaign, a progressive online organization with over 1.2 million members, from 2013 to 2016.

Dr. Song serves on the national board of Physicians for a National Health Program, People for the American Way, The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, and The Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center.


Advisory Board Member

Bill Fletcher joined the PDA national board in 2009. has spoken at several PDA events, provided valuable advice and insights, and helped PDA forge closer relations with organized Labor. He serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Labor Rights Forum, Executive Editor of The Black Commentator, and founded the Center for Labor Renewal.

A longtime labor, racial justice and international activist, he is a former president of the TransAfrica Forum, a national non-profit organization organizing, educating and advocating for policies in favor of the peoples of Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Bill is a founder of the Black Radical Congress and is a Senior Scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies. Bill co-authored (with Fernando Gapasin) Solidarity Divided, The Crisis in Organized Labor and A New Path Toward Social Justice.

He served as the Vice President for International Trade Union Development Programs for the George Meany Center of the AFL-CIO, as Education Director and as Assistant to the President of the AFL-CIO.