Oakland Rising


Project of:

Movement Strategy Center




Left-Wing Voter Mobilization Group

Executive Director:

Jessamyn Sabbag (2015-present)

Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett (2008-2015)

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

Oakland Rising (OR) is a left-of-center activist project of the Movement Strategy Center (MSC) that focuses on voter mobilization among of low-income people, immigrants, and people of color in Oakland, California.

Operating under the Bay Rising umbrella with sister organizations San Francisco Rising and Silicon Valley Rising, OR supports ballot propositions and candidates for political office that advance left-of-center positions, particularly in local politics.


In 2016, the Movement Strategy Center (MSC) created Oakland Rising in collaboration with leadership of the left-of-center Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Causa Justa/Just Cause (CJJC), Ella Baker Center For Human Rights, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) and Urban Habitat. 1

OR registers and mobilizes low-income people, people of color, and immigrants in order to exert political influence to secure support for left-of-center policies. OR uses phone banks, door-to-door canvassing, voter guides and surveys, voter registration drives, and issue advocacy to support its policies. 2 3

OR is affiliated with Oakland Rising Action (ORA), an advocacy organization that lobbies and endorses candidates supported by OR. ORA accepts donations via ActBlue, an online payment system aligned with the Democratic Party. MSC funds ORA’s ActBlue fundraising page. 4

OR has claimed success for supporting left-of-center policies including establishing an independent redistricting commission in California and increasing the minimum wage in Oakland to $12.25 per hour. OR has also worked to raise taxes on those making $250,000 and over to provide increased funding for public schools. 5

OR also conducts issue education and advocacy initiatives, using a pool of formerly incarcerated voter outreach workers. 6


ORA is active in electing left-of-center officials who seek increased regulations favoring tenants, support the development of increased government-funded housing, and prevent “gentrification” from damaging low-income people. 7 OR also protests alleged police misconduct, supports community re-entry programs for previously incarcerated people, and advocates for the use of restorative justice, rather than incarceration for juvenile offenders. 8

OR has supported California initiatives to increase taxes on commercial properties, allow ballot harvesting, remove the ban on affirmative action, protect homeless encampments, reclassify ride-share independent contractors as employees, permit felons to vote, lower the voting age to 17 for primary elections, expand rent control, and end cash bail. 9

In Oakland, OR has recommended increasing funding for upgrading public schools, lowering the voting age for the school board to 16, removing a $1,000 limit on fines to help prevent illegal waste dumping, removing the position of inspector general from police department control. 10


OR has not disclosed its donors. ORA has received event sponsorship from a number of left-of-center organizations, including the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, San Francisco Foundation, Bay Rising, the East Bay Community Foundation, Causa Justa/Just Cause, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, Working Partnerships USA, the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Black Women Organized for Political Action, Californians for Justice, San Francisco Rising, and Urban Habitat 11


Jessamyn Sabbag is the executive director of OR. Sabbag previously worked with GenVote and the Marin Grassroots Leadership Network, an organization which mobilized against the Iraq War. She serves on the City of Oakland’s Budget Advisory Commission and sits on the board of California Calls, an alliance of 31 community organizations across California. 12

Beth Gunston, OR strategic partnerships director, previously worked with the left-of-center California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) and is still board president of the League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay. 13

OR operations and executive manager Sol Rhee previously worked with left-of-center community organizing groups, including the Koreatown Immigrant Worker’s Alliance, Congregations Organizing for Renewal, and Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans (HOBAK). 14


OR and ORA are both fiscally sponsored by MSC and have not publicly reported any financial information.


  1. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  2. “What’s New?” Oakland Rising. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  3. “Voter Education & Mobilization.” Oakland Rising. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  4. “Welcome Back!” ActBlue. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  5. Journalist, Saleem Gilmore Citizen, Saleem Gilmore, and Citizen Journalist. “Oakland Rising.” California Endowment, October 26, 2015.
  6. “Voter Education & Mobilization.” Oakland Rising. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  7. “Endorsements.” Oakland Rising Action. Accessed November 9, 2020.
  8. “November 3rd Election Voter Guide.” Oakland Rising. Accessed November 9, 2020.
  9. Twitter. Twitter. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  10. “November 3rd Election Voter Guide.” Oakland Rising. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  11. “Oakland Progressives Party.” Oakland Rising. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  12. “Staff.” Staff | Oakland Rising. Archived from the original February 14, 2018. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  13. “Staff.” Staff | Oakland Rising. Archived from the original February 14, 2018. Accessed November 2, 2020.
  14. “Staff.” Staff | Oakland Rising. Archived from the original February 14, 2018. Accessed November 2, 2020.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett
    Former Executive Director
  See an error? Let us know!