Leadership

Lester Aponte

Lester Aponte

President

Lester F. Aponte is a lawyer and an activist. He is a native of Puerto Rico and a 30-year resident of Los Angeles. He is serving his second term as President of the Stonewall Democratic Club and previously served as its Community Vice President. In addition, he is the Southern California Co-Chair of the LGBT Caucus of the California Democratic Party and an elected delegate, representing the 46th Assembly District. In his professional life, he specializes in the representation and counseling of employers in all aspects of employment law. He received a B.A. degree in Political Science from Haverford College in 1986 and a J.D. degree from the Columbia University School of Law in 1989.

Steve Bott

Steve Bott

Vice President, Operations

Steve has been a local Democratic activist and member of the Stonewall Democratic Club since 2013, and is currently serving his 3rd term as the club's Operations Vice President. He has served three terms as a delegate to the California Democratic Party.

Jane Wishon

Jane Wishon

Vice President, Political

Jane grew up in the segregated South and fled Texas to attend college, first at Princeton University and later at UCLA. She's held many volunteer positions over the years including National Board President for Marriage Equality USA, Case Manager at AIDS Project LA, Delegate to the California Democratic Party, Elected Member of her Neighborhood Council, Member of the LA County Democratic Party, and Political Vice President for the Stonewall Democratic Club. Her early years awakened a thirst for social justice; her marriage equality work honed her commitment to underrepresented communities and the undocumented; her experiences as a woman in a man's world forged her dedication to feminism; and her frustration over the 2016 Presidential election results rededicated her to resisting the current Administration and its attempt to send our Democracy back to the 18th century. Jane is Chair of the Westside Democratic HQ (a collaboration of 10 Democratic Clubs) and co-founder of the LA County Feminist Democratic Club, Heart of LA. MBA, ally, writer, professional volunteer, wife, mother, grandmother, and resistance warrior.

Drexel Heard

Drexel Heard

Vice President, Community

A military brat and North Carolina State alum, Drexel represents the 39th California Assembly District as the youngest, black Executive Board Member, and a Delegate to the California Democratic Party. He is the first black Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, sits on the Board of Advisors for Equality California, is a member of the Los Angeles City Task Force for Youth Development, and is a member of several Los Angeles grassroots organizations. His political commentary and analyst skills can be found on the BBC Radio, NPR, Channel Q, and AfterBuzzTV.

Ryan Basham

Ryan Basham

Vice President, Communications

Ryan Basham is an award-winning, Emmy-voting film/TV producer and leadership/executive coach and trainer. Having previously served as Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of a mixed reality company founded by a lifetime achievement award-winning video game developer, he has refocused his energy as a staff coach at WeWork, Communications Vice President of Stonewall Democratic Club, and a member of Biden for President's LGBTQ+ Kitchen Cabinet. He is passionate about advancing the health, wellbeing, agency, and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community and other disadvantaged groups through politics, policy, and media.

Justine Gonzalez

Justine Gonzalez

Vice President, Financial Development

Sam Frank

Sam Frank

Recording Secretary

Samuel (Sam) Frank, Recording Secretary, was born and raised in Los Angeles. After becoming politically activated at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he joined the board of Stonewall in 2015 hoping to help in any way that he could. He received his J.D. in 2019 from Loyola Law School. He hopes to give back to the LGBT community so that others may also thrive.

Reuben Zadeh

Reuben Zadeh

Controller

Reuben Zadeh has been a member of Stonewall's Steering Committee since 2016. Reuben grew up in the San Fernando Valley and received his AA in Economics from Los Angeles Valley College in 1989 and his BS in Accounting from California State University Northridge in 1992. He has been a CPA in private practice for over 20 years and a lifelong Democrat. Reuben previously served as the treasurer of Democrats for Israel, Los Angeles from 1998 to 2005 and has been involved in Democratic Party activism over the past 2 decades.

Garry Shay

Garry Shay

Parliamentarian

Garry was elected to the Democratic National Committee in 1992 and to its Executive Committee in 2009; serving on the DNC Rules Committee from 1994 - 2009, he was instrumental in changing the Delegate Selection Rules to require all 57 states and territories to set goals for LGBT Delegates to the National Convention. He has served as a member of the Rules Committee of the California Democratic Party continuously since 1979 and as its Chair since 1981. A former Chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, he has been a member of that body continuously since 1973, and currently serves as its Parliamentarian. He has been partnered with his husband, Burt Belant, since 1981, and they are the guardians of J.D. the Dachshund.

Stephen David Simon

Stephen David Simon

President Emeritus

President Emeritus Stephen David Simon has served Stonewall for 25 years, including the elected positions of Controller, Political Vice President, and President. He is currently Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability – appointed by Mayor Garcetti – having served as L.A. City AIDS Coordinator under Mayors Hahn and Villaraigosa. Simon was a founding attorney of the HIV& AIDS Legal Services Alliance. His history of community and policy work spans from appointments as a County of L.A. HIV Commissioner and City of L.A. Disability Commissioner, to his current Board position with the Foundation for The AIDS Monument, working to tell the inclusive history of the HIV pandemic and those whose stories impacted millions of people living with (and too often dying from) HIV. He is an out and proud member of Bi and Poly communities.

Steering Committee (2019-2021)

  • Barbara Steelman: Chair, Budget
  • Edward Stapleton: Vice Chair, Budget
  • Adam Kroll: Chair, Endorsements
  • Xenia Vidal: Vice Chair, Endorsements
  • Andrea Lipton: Chair, Leadership Development and Appointments
  • Daniel Halden: Chair, Legislative Action
  • Sarah Pinjo: Vice Chair, Legislative Action
  • Alex Mohajer: Chair, Public and Media Relations/Brand Management
  • Karen Eyres: Chair, Political Action
  • Alana Roshay: Vice Chair, Political Action
  • Freddy Puza: Chair, Major Events
  • Amy Wiwuga: Chair, Membership Recruitment and Events
  • Corey Jentry: Chair, Program
  • Mackenzie Hussman: Chair, Social Media and Web Site
  • Marcus Lovingood: Chair, Stonewall Spotlight Podcast
  • Anna Kozma: Chair, Email Marketing and List Communications
  • Jonathan Welch: Chair, Produced Media
  • Devin Adante: Chair of Major Events
  • Jerome Kitchen: Chair, Constituency Outreach
  • David Hunt: Chair, Credentialing & Membership Renewal
  • Tran Le: Chair, Donor Cultivation and Solicitation
  • Matthew Contreras: Chair, Pride Festivals
  • Nadia Sutton: At-Large Member
  • Tai Sunnanon: At-Large Member
  • Jerilyn Stapleton: At-Large Member/DPSFV Liaison
  • Alec White: At-Large Member

 


Stonewall Steering Committee Members on Local, County, or Statewide Boards or Commissions and LACDP, CADEM, and DNC State/ County/City Boards or Commissions

  • John Erickson, Commissioner, City of West Hollywood Planning Commission; and Commissioner, California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls
  • Edward Stapleton, Commission, City of West Hollywood Public Facilities Commission
  • Karen Eyres, Board Member, City of West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board
  • Brandon Milan, Vice Chair, City of West Hollywood Public Facilities Commission
  • Tai Sunnanon, Board Member, City of West Hollywood Public Facilities Commission
  • Rick Watts, Board Member, City of West Hollywood Disabilities Advisory Board
  • A. Lee Walkup; Board Member, City of West Hollywood Senior Advisory Board
  • Nadia Sutton, Board Member, City of West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board
  • Alana Roshay, Board Member, City of West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board
  • Garry Shay, Member, Dental Hygiene Committee of California
  • Freddy Puza, Member, Culver City General Plan Advisory Committee
  • Thom O’Shaughnessy, Commissioner, City of Glendale Audit Committee
  • Thom O’Shaughnessy, Commissioner and Past-Chair, LA County Veterans Advisory Commission

 

Stonewall Leadership Academy Members (Past/Present)

  • Andrew Reback, Commissioner, City of West Hollywood Human Services Commission
  • Matthew Contreras, Member, University Student Union Board of Directors, California State University, Northridge

 

California Democratic Party

Executive Board

  • Drexel Heard II
  • Garry Shay
  • Thom O’Shaughnessy
  • Jerilyn Stapleton

 

Members, Democratic State Central Committee, i.e., delegates

  • Brandon Milan (AD50)
  • Drexel Heard II (AD39)
  • Steve Bott (AD50)
  • Jane Wishon (AD54)
  • Jerilyn Stapleton (AD46)
  • Lester Aponte (AD46)
  • Garry Shay (AD45)
  • Taylor Bazley (AD62)
  • Thom O’Shaughnessy (AD43)

 

Committees

  • Jerilyn Stapleton, Co-Chair, California Democratic Party Legislative Committee
  • Garry Shay, Chair, California Democratic Party Rules Committee
  • Garry Shay, Member, Compliance Review Commission, California Democratic Party
  • Thom O’Shaughnessy, Caucus Chair, Irish American Caucus
  • Thom O’Shaughnessy, Member, Organizational & Development Standing Committee
  • Drexel Heard II, Member, Credentials Committee
  • Jane Wishon, Member, Credentials Committee

 

Los Angeles County Democratic Party (LACDP)

  • Garry Shay, Parliamentarian, Los Angeles County Democratic Party
  • Thom O’Shaughnessy, Controller, Los Angeles County Democratic Party
  • Jerilyn Stapleton, AD46 Delegate to LACDP and Legislative Committee Member
  • Democratic National Committee
  • Garry Shay, Member, Executive Committee Democratic National Committee
  • Garry Shay, Member, Democratic National Committee

 

Local Neighborhood Councils

  • Marcus Lovingood, Area Wide Director, Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC)

 

Misc.

  • Jerilyn Stapleton, CD4 Representative, City of Los Angeles Domestic Violence Alliance
  • Jerilyn Stapleton, Executive Board Member, Democratic Party of San Fernando Valley (DPSFV)
  • Ari Gutierrez, Co-Founder, HONOR PAC
  • Ari Gutierrez, Co-Founder & President, Latino Equality Alliance
  • Ari Gutierrez, Organizational Representative, Eastside LEADS (Leadership for Equitable and Accountable Development Strategies)
  • Ari Gutierrez, Member, L.A. County Health Innovation Community Partnerships (HICP) (Appointed by Supervisor Solis)
  • Ari Gutierrez, Member LAC+USC General Hospital Reuse Feasibility Study (Appointed by Supervisor Solis)