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Long Beach LGBTQ Center president a community advocate

LaDawn Best, left, is the board president and chairperson for the Long Beach LGBTQ Center. Best is seen with former board president Ron Sylvester. Photo courtesy of the Long Beach LGBTQ Center

LaDawn Best, left, is the board president and chairperson for the Long Beach LGBTQ Center. Best is seen with former board president Ron Sylvester. Photo courtesy of the Long Beach LGBTQ Center

LONG BEACH – LaDawn Best of the Long Beach LGBTQ Center wanted to be board president because it gives her a way to be more active in the community.

“I love Long Beach and am proud to call this city my home,” Best told Out in the 562 last year. “I have decided that I wanted to be more involved because I wanted to be a part of and was inspired by the change that I saw happening within the LGBTQ community of Long Beach.”

Best, who joined the Center’s board of directors in 2014 and has worked with the community more than 10 years, was elected president and board chair in December 2015.

The board’s other executive committee members are vice chair Justin Boettcher, treasurer Justin Potier and secretary Sylvia Rodemeyer. Boettcher and Rodemeyer were re-elected, and Potier replaces Erick Orellana.

Best works as the program director at Peer Health Exchange Los Angeles, a national nonprofit organization that provides health education and mentoring to teenagers. Previously, Best was at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Project, where she assisted violence survivors and trained service providers.

A graduate of the African American Board Leadership Institute, Best has a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis on leadership and change from Antioch University.

Best succeeds Ron Sylvester, who served as was the Center’s president and chairman for six years. Sylvester announced his retirement from the board in early 2015.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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