liz suk (Pronouns: she/her)
liz suk grew up in the Bay Area with deep roots in Deep East Oakland. She has a 25+ year career in various non-profit and grassroots organizations in the Bay Area and currently sits on the board of REAL People’s Fund and California Calls. liz joined Oakland Rising as the Leadership Development Manager, transitioned to our Political Director in Fall of 2019, and now serves as our Executive Director. She is committed to social, racial, and environmental justice for Indigenous, Black, and Brown communities and passing on these values to her two children, whom you’ll often see by her side during meetings and during campaigns. She brings a micro to global lens in her coordination, strategy, and politics. She enjoys hiking, camping, creating and sharing herbal remedies, writing poetry, and photography. Most of all, as a connector and protector, liz enjoys cooking and feeding people while imaging a new world rooted in love, liberation, peace, and justice.
Jon Bean (Pronouns: he/him)
Southern background, happily married, father of five, and raised in Alabama, Jon Bean was forced to experience racism quite often at a very influential age. This ignited a passion to fight for what’s right that still burns today. At the age of 15, he was elected president for the Youth College Chapter of the NAACP in Alabama. Beginning to recognize his natural talent for organizing, soon he was mobilizing folks to march on the same streets of Selma, Alabama that Dr. King Jr. marched before him. After following his path to Oakland in 1999, he began his journey to what he believes now is his calling as a transformative organizer. For the last decade he has committed himself to over 20 campaigns, knocked over 30,000 doors, sat on 3 elected/ appointed county councils, and worked for or with over 30 CBO’s throughout California. This includes 10 campaigns on Oakland Rising’s outreach staff – first as a team member, and later as a team lead. Over the years of helping create and being a part of so many victories, it has ensured him that choosing to be the change he wanted to see was the best path he could have chosen. As Oakland Rising’s Deputy Director, Jon is coming back to his roots here in Oakland.
Beth Gunston (Pronouns: she/her)
Strategic Partnerships Director
As a proud East Bay native, Beth is excited to be able to give back to her community as the Strategic Partnerships Director at Oakland Rising. After graduating with a double major in Anthropology and Urban Studies from San Francisco State University, Beth knew that she would devote her life to the social justice movement. She earned her stripes at the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) where she spent a decade educating voters and running grassroots campaigns to pass solid public health and environmental protections and elect progressive leaders at the state level. During 6 of her years at CLCV, she fundraised from individual donors, raising over $2 million dollars for political work.
Sol Rhee (Pronouns: them/they)
Director of Operations
Sol joins Oakland Rising as an Operations and Executive Manager. Since immigrating from Korea as a teenager, Sol has called the Bay Area home (even when they were away in Southern California for graduate school). Their passion for economic and racial justice led them to work with organizations like Koreatown Immigrant Worker’s Alliance and Congregations Organizing for Renewal. They are excited to support Oakland Rising’s work in fighting to improve the lives of Oakland’s working class and residents of color. Outside of their work for Oakland Rising, Sol supports domestic violence survivors as a Multi-lingual Access Model advocate at the Asian Women’s Shelter, and organizes with Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans (HOBAK) and Korean American Coalition to End Domestic Abuse (KACEDA). At rallies and community events, they can be spotted with a Korean traditional drumming crew, Ieumsae.
Sol holds a BA from UC Berkeley, with double major in Ethnic Studies and Political Science, and an M.Div from Claremont School of Theology.
Vernetta Woods (Pronouns: she/her)
IVE Team Leader
Vernetta joined our team 4 years ago first as a canvasser and then transitioned to our door fundraising team. After a break to focus on school and raising her son, she is back with us to oversee the day-to-day with our outreach team. “OR has raised the bar of my level of leadership…. I am the community. We’re here rooted in Deep East Oakland. The work being done is so necessary and needed. We’re going to tear this organizing thing up!”
Joevonte Kelly (Pronouns: him/his)
Joevonte joined Oakland Rising first as a canvasser in 2011 after returning home from Santa Rita County Jail when he was 18. What started out as just a job to pay the bills became his way to learn about how to use grassroots organizing around the issues impacting him and his community. Now 10 years later, Joevonte is managing our paid outreach program and supporting our Core Leaders Program.
IVE Volunteer Coordinator
Miranda joined our team first as a canvasser and is excited to rejoin in this more long-term position through which she’ll recruit, train, and retain up to 150 volunteers. Volunteers will engage with low-propensity voters through phone banking and door knocking with a focus in unincorporated Alameda County.
Cynthia comes to Oakland Rising as our Administrative Assistant after 8 years of labor and community organizing in the Bay Area. Prior to working at Oakland Rising, Cynthia was an organizer with our partners at East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, helping pass local labor ordinances like Times Up! Oakland: for fair workplaces and ending sexual assault on the job. She began organizing with UNITE HERE! Local 2 in San Francisco where she organized alongside her coworkers as a hotel worker to fight for a union. Cynthia brings to our team a deep commitment to building a strong movement of labor, housing, immigration, and environmental justice. Outside of Oakland Rising, you can find Cynthia practicing urban permaculture design farming in San Francisco.
Cal Radecki (Pronouns: them/they)
Cal Radecki is our Digital Organizing & Training Strategy (DOTS) fellow joining our team in July 2022. A recent graduate from Pitzer College, they majored in Environmental Analysis and American Studies. As they engaged with environmental and abolitionist work in college, Cal became passionate about applying multi-faceted and intersectional solutions to issues of social injustice and building coalitions across movements. They are excited to work with Oakland Rising on cultivating collective radical imagination and working towards the world we want to see! Cal loves spending time hiking and exploring outside spaces and is a dog lover to their core. Alternatively, Cal is an avid media consumer and spends time binging trashy tv shows.
Oakland, CA 94612
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Oakland Rising is a project from our hearts for the people of Oakland. Thank you for your contribution!