Pecolia Manigo (Pronouns: she/her)

Political Director

Pecolia, a San Francisco native and Oakland resident, is a passionate advocate with a deep understanding of diverse issues and global affairs. As a youth organizer, she demonstrated her commitment to community empowerment and advocacy through membership building and statewide campaigns. By age 20, Pecolia had participated in four major Bay Area campaigns and conducted over 100 nationwide training sessions.

As the former Executive Director of the Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network (PLAN), Pecolia focused on developing parental leadership and empowering parents to drive transformative change in schools. She played a crucial role in organizing Black student and parent leaders as part of the Justice for Oakland Students Coalition, particularly in the Reparations for Black Students Campaign. This campaign aims to address the opportunity gap for Black students in early childhood education and public schools by 2026.

In 2022, Pecolia ran for School Board Director in Oakland’s District 4, mobilizing approximately 11,700 residents to support her visionary platform. Despite not securing the position, her campaign inspired students, parents, volunteers, donors, and community leaders to rally behind her vision for positive change. She continues to serve as Co-Chair of the Policy Oversight Commission for the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth, which distributes funding for children and youth services 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 Action. Beth’s first job ever was door-to-door canvassing after high school. This launched her into a life-long journey of organizing and fundraising. 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 Action 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 Action’s work in fighting to improve the lives of Oakland’s working class and residents of color. Outside of their work for Oakland Rising Action, 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.

Jos (Pronouns: she/her)

Communications Manager

Jos began her career in Oakland Rising Action in April of 2019 as the Administrative Assistant, eventually moving into her new role in the Communications field.

Cynthia Morfin (Pronouns: she/they)

IVE Manager

Cynthia originally came to Oakland Rising Action as our Administrative Assistant (before being promoted to IVE Manager!) after 8 years of labor and community organizing in the Bay Area. Prior to working at Oakland Rising Action, 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 Action, you can find Cynthia practicing urban permaculture design farming in San Francisco.

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!”

Nicole Zapata (Pronouns: she/ber)

Communications Organizer

After nearly a decade rooted in Bay Area community organizing, Nicole Zapata joins Oakland Rising Action as a Communications Organizer. Prior to Oakland Rising Action, Nicole worked with the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) in her home of Contra Costa County as a community organizer helping build a strong movement of immigrants and tenants in the suburbs fighting for safe and stable housing. Nicole first began organizing through her work with UNITE HERE, unionizing over 200 tech cafeteria workers in the Silicon Valley along with fighting to win respect and protections on the job for food service workers across the East and North Bay. Outside of Oakland Rising Action, Nicole is a street drummer with Boomshake Music, a community program run by a collective of artists making music for creative expression, cultural survival and social change. 

Nory Tadeo (Pronouns: she/her)

Administrative Assistant

Nory immigrated to the US with her siblings in 1975 from the Philippines. She has lived in Oakland all her life and has experience working in many fields – from owning an auto body shop to working in schools with young children. One of Nory’s most memorable times was when she volunteered and organized at a Friday Community Dinner for 13 years to help serve unhoused adults and children every week. As a mom of three children, her favorite hobbies include cooking, cosplaying and crafting.