The Lansing Association for Human Rights is governed by a volunteer board. (Excellent headshots courtesy of Pablo Contreras.)
Emily Dievendorf, President
Emily Dievendorf is an independent political and nonprofit consultant and the president of the Lansing Association for Human Rights. Prior to consulting Emily served as executive director for Equality Michigan where she advocated for LGBT-friendly policies among legislators and other political leaders throughout the state and at every level of government. Previously, Dievendorf worked in the Michigan House of Representatives for Democratic state legislators for nearly a decade.
Dievendorf is a graduate of James Madison College at Michigan State University with a degree in social relations. She has been active in numerous progressive issues, particularly LGBT equality, race relations and equality, women’s rights, and HIV/AIDS. She currently serves as board vice president of the Firecracker Foundation. Ms. Dievendorf has worked on several campaigns ranging from gubernatorial to contentious municipal ballot issue campaigns. She was recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as one of “Ten People to Watch in State Politics” in 2014. Emily was appointed in 2015 to the Michigan Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and is currently serving her second term on the committee.
Lydia Weiss, Vice President
Lydia Weiss is a queer feminist from Michigan, who is a passionate advocate for queer and gender justice. She earned her master’s degree in women, gender, and sexuality studies from the University of Cincinnati and her bachelor’s in sociology from Michigan State University. Her educational endeavors were buttressed by community organizing and activism – all of which ruined her ability to tune out social and political injustice and contributed to her “over-involved” lifestyle. But she wouldn’t want it any other way. During the day, Lydia works at Michigan State University. Her remaining spare time is spent with her sweetheart and herd of three cats and one dog, all of whom enjoy walks together as a big happy family.
Ana Wolken, Treasurer
Ana Wolken serves as a constituent services representative in the office of Senator Debbie Stabenow, specializing in immigration and international casework. She graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in social relations and policy. Ana is an alumna of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and MSU’s James Madison College and volunteers with both organizations. Ana is also a past chair of the City of East Lansing’s Human Relations Commission.
Jen Anderson, Communications Director
Jen Anderson’s work is informed by a relentless drive to trample inequities and uplift the voices of the most vulnerable. At both the Lansing Association for Human Rights and her day job at the Michigan Primary Care Association, Jen focuses on education, grassroots advocacy, and strategic communications designed to engage, change, and empower. Jen holds a certificate in copy editing from the University of California San Diego Extension, and she studied creative writing, photography, and marine biology at Roger Williams University. In her spare time, Jen runs Clearing Blocks, a freelance editing service that caters to independent authors. Above all else, Jen believes in the power of storytelling to inspire.
Olivia Brenner, Intern
Olivia Brenner is a student at Michigan State University getting a double major in social relations and policy and well as women’s studies with a minor in LGBTQ studies. She’s very excited to spend the summer splitting her time between her job at a bookstore and her internship with LAHR. As a long-time Lansing area resident, Olivia is glad to be a part of an organization that is doing great work in her own backyard.
Mike Carlson is a lifelong Michiganian who graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in biochemistry/anthropology then promptly got a job at a bookstore. He soon found a career as an environmental chemist where he’s been for the past 27 years due to an overdeveloped sense of duty.
Mike worked as a volunteer and then director of the LAHR LGBT Hotline until the internet and some degree of social acceptance of LGBT issues made the helpline unnecessary. He has been on the LAHR board for many years and currently serves and sings on the board of LansingOut Gay Men’s Chorus. He is an unrepentant queer nerd boy who loves books, comics, tabletop role playing games, and social justice. He has an addiction to podcasts and will gladly talk you to death about whatever obsession du jour his magpie monkey mind is focused on that week.
Angélica De Jesús
Angélica De Jesús (ADJ) is an artist, organizer and first-gen college student currently studying at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy (FSPP). Growing up as a queer Latina in the South, Angelica is passionate about working on issues of health, economic and environmental justice with marginalized communities in the Southern U.S. and Puerto Rico.
She is an active and founding member of the Michigan Indígena Chicanx Community Alliance (MICCA), former youth mentor with the Indigenous Youth Empowerment Program (IEYP), and serves as a board member for the Lansing Association for Human Rights (LAHR). ADJ has worked in various capacities with grassroots LGBTQ organizations, public health nonprofits, and university research institutions. She most recently expanded community-based research capacity as an intern at the Detroit Health Department (DHD).
Whenever possible, Angélica weaves traditional healing methods and ancestral Afro/Indigenous/& Caribbean conocimiento (knowledge) into her work. She is grateful for family (chosen and bio), lessons from the land/peoples of the land, nuance, and storytime with her baby, Kiki.
Kiana Elkins is a senior at Michigan State University pursuing an undergraduate degree in global studies in the arts and humanities. She also has minors in women and gender studies as well as peace and justice studies. Kiana enjoys traveling and has studied in Ireland and Jordan.
Ben Schroff is a recent Michigan State University graduate with a degree in social relations and policy looking to help make a difference in his community. One thing to know about him is that he’s a trivia fiend. He’ll talk your ear off if he hears something that sends him off on a tangent!
Erica Spitzfaden is an IT professional with more than 32 years experience as a programmer, network engineer and database administrator. She is proficient with languages such as SQL, PHP and HTML, the very building blocks of websites and databases. She gained five years of experience working in a nonprofit by serving on the Lansing’s Children’s Ballet Theatre Props Committee. As a board member of LAHR, her primary focus is to provide technology guidance, but she has taken on many opportunities to serve as a spokesperson for LAHR about critical contemporary issues and has written articles for the LAHR newsletter. Additionally, Erica has presented on transgender issues with PFLAG and met with the Ingham County Sheriff’s office, advocating for proper language use in press releases.