Staff

 

Jessamyn Sabbag, Executive Director

In 2009, Jessamyn joined Oakland Rising’s staff as Field Director and later Deputy Director, and coordinated the project’s collaborative of social justice organizations as well as its voter operations. Over seven years, Jessamyn grew Oakland Rising’s voter outreach operations from 1,300 supporters to more than 52,000 supportive voters citywide. From directing campaigns to leading political education trainings to lobbying City Hall, Jessamyn has contributed to policy and ballot box victories. These wins include increasing taxes on the wealthy to fund education, requiring jobs and community benefits from new developments, establishing more transparency and public participation in the city’s budget process, and expanding rights for immigrants and formerly incarcerated community members. 

Prior to joining the team at Oakland Rising, Jessamyn directed GenVote, a national youth civic engagement coalition; created a national online directory of progressive youth organizations; became the first Civic Engagement Coordinator at the Marin Grassroots Leadership Network; mobilized against the Iraq war, and created a free arts and theater after-school program. 
 
Jessamyn serves on the City of Oakland’s Budget Advisory Commission and the Board of Directors of California Calls, an alliance of 31 grassroots, community based organizations across the state. She is driven by a profound love and belief in Oakland and democracy, and brings deep values and experience around police accountability and anti-racism. She is profoundly committed to building collective progressive political power for Oakland’s working class, immigrant, and communities of color. When not working for justice and liberation, she and can be found at the beach, in the garden, and on the dance floor. 
 
Jessamyn is a graduate of Brown University, with a double major in ecological and evolutionary biology and history and public policy of education. 
 
 
 

Beth Gunston, 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. Beth currently serves as the Board President of the League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay where she helps elect environmental champions to local seats in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. You can find her spending her free time running trails, climbing rocks, or holding a sign at a labor or environmental rally.

Beth@oaklandrising.org

 

Laneisha Butler, Youth Organizer

Laneisha is a third generation Oakland resident committed to fighting poor educational opportunities, criminalization, gentrification and other injustices in Oakland and in communities similar to her own. She recently received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and wants to use her education to change public policies for the better and lift up the voices of people of color. For Laneisha this fight is very personal. For decades, members of her family have had to deal with poverty and the challenges that come along with it. However, as a research assistant at UCSC she was exposed to grassroots organizing and movement building electoral organizing and saw how young people in her own community were making a difference. Inspired by youth and the staff who guide them, she realized that she has a role to play in working towards positive change and helping others do the same. As a participant in YVote's New Majority Fellowship, Laneisha looks forward to learning from and networking with others who share similar goals.

Laneisha@oaklandrising.org 

 

 

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