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 in 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.
LJ Butler (Pronouns: she/her)
LJ is a third-generation Oakland native committed to defeating poverty, criminalization, gentrification, and other injustices amongst the Black community in Oakland in communities similar to her own. In 2017, she received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and wants to use her education and her own experiences of injustices to change public policies for the better and uplift voices of her people with Oakland Rising. For LJ, this fight is very personal. For centuries, her ancestors have faced barriers to thriving in a society that was built by them, but not for them. Therefore, she is determined to reclaim what was stripped from her people and continue to pave the way for future generations to do the same.
Nora Smith (Pronouns: they/them)
Midwest born and raised, Nora has been a member of the West Oakland community for going on a decade. A quiet soul with a loud mouth, Nora has a passion for housing justice and defending our unhoused neighbors in the streets and at Oakland city council meetings. As an avid reader and revolutionary, in their spare time they can be found lost in many afro futurist texts at the same time, dreaming up radical futures where we all have what we need to thrive.
Oakland, CA 94612
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