Meet the Long Beach Forward team
James Suazo (he/him/his) serves as Executive Director where he collaborates with the organization's Leadership Team and Board of Directors to oversee community-centric fundraising, organizational administration, staff development, and strategic planning. James is an avid reader, writer, artist, organizer, and abolitionist, who identifies as queer, Latinx, and Native American (Jicarilla Apache).
James’ passion for social change began growing up in Santa Ana, California where he started organizing low-income bus riders throughout Orange County in 2008. Since then, he has worked for elected officials in local government; managed electoral campaigns; and organized with students, community-based groups, and labor unions throughout Orange County, Los Angeles County, and Long Beach. James has also learned from, trained, and mentored organizers locally and nationally as part of his commitment to building a better world.
James first joined Long Beach Forward as the Hub Coordinator for Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach in 2014 and played a key role in helping sustain and grow multiple collaboratives, develop the undergraduate internship program, and build up the strategic communications arm of the organization. As the organization grew, James stepped into the Associate Director role for three years to oversee the organization's multiple initiatives, campaigns, and collaborative efforts, including the organization's rebranding efforts from the Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach Hub Organization to Long Beach Forward. James was selected by the Advisory Board to serve as Executive Director beginning January 2021.
Living in Long Beach for the past decade, James also organizes locally with the Long Beach chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Engaging in organizing as liberation work, he enjoys working on narrative strategies and teaching others organizing as a way to build movements and move hearts and minds. James graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Education with an emphasis in Language and Linguistics and a minor in Comparative World Literature. He currently serves as a voting member of the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition (LBIRC) Advisory Board and the Long Beach MemorialCare Community Benefit Oversight Committee (CBOC).