Miriam Aukerman is a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. She also manages the ACLU’s West Michigan Regional Office.
Here in Michigan, our story begins as early as 1955, when social justice advocates came together and began to plan for a state organization. The ACLU of Michigan was officially established in 1959 to defend our civil liberties.
Senior Staff Attorney
Director of Philanthropy
Mary Bejian joined the ACLU of Michigan staff in 2004 as the organization’s first full-time Field Organizer. After serving as the ACLU’s Field Director and Deputy Director, Bejian now heads the organization’s strategic fundraising efforts as Director of Philanthropy. Coming from an advocacy background, Bejian seeks to strengthen the ACLU’s capacity through high-level donor engagement in advocacy campaigns and in bringing like-minded thought leaders and people of influence into the organization as lay leaders and financial supporters.
Brenda Bove works with six staff attorneys under the supervision of the legal director. She helps execute case filings and case work.
She oversees statewide legal department intake, including the hiring, training and supervision of undergraduate interns who help with the legal intake operation, including maintenance of the intake data base.
Kimberly S. Buddin joined the ACLU of Michigan as a Legal Fellow in 2015, and now serves as Policy Counsel. She is responsible for conducting research and outreach to assist in developing and implementing litigation and advocacy strategies and to proactively advance the ACLU’s legislative agenda.
She earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law. Prior to joining the ACLU of Michigan, she served as a staff attorney for Lakeshore Legal Aid’s Counsel Advocacy Law Line and law clerk for the City of Dearborn, Michigan. Outside of the ACLU, Kimberly advocates as a pro-bono attorney for the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center.
West Michigan Legal Fellow
Juan Caballero joined the ACLU of Michigan as a Legal Fellow with the Western Michigan office in 2016. He is responsible for a range of litigation and advocacy work that supports and supplements the ACLU’s agenda in a variety of areas.
Juan earned his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from New York University School of Law. During his time in law school Juan interned with the Immigrant Defense Project in New York City and the Pima County Public Defenders office in Tucson, Ariz. He also spent the summer of 2015 interning with the ACLU of Southern California’s National Security and Immigrant Rights Project.
Rana Elmir joined the ACLU of Michigan in 2006 as the Communications Director and was named Deputy Director in 2013. Rana is a member of the ACLU of Michigan’s leadership team and plays a key role in shaping the future of the ACLU-MI and increasing the effectiveness and shaping the ACLU of Michigan's public policy campaigns. In addition, she continues her responsibilities to increase understanding and appreciation of the Bill of Rights and the ACLU's mission through digital and traditional media.
Racial Justice Staff Attorney
Mark P. Fancher is the staff attorney for the Racial Justice Project of the ACLU of Michigan. Through his work, he addresses: racially disproportionate rates of incarceration; racial discrimination against public school students of color, racial profiling, attacks on the democratic rights of communities of color and abusive police practices.
Centennial Campaign Director
Angela Gabridge joined the ACLU of Michigan in April 2015 as the Centennial Campaign Officer, and now serves as the Centennial Campaign Director. She is a member of the ACLU of Michigan’s development team and is responsible for strategy and successful implementation of the ACLU’s $22 million Centennial Campaign.
Director of Operations
Bill joined the ACLU of Michigan in January 2016 as Director of Operations and is responsible for financial management, program and project management, office administration and information technology. Prior to joining the organization, Bill was a manager at the Ford Motor Company and owned a market research consulting firm. Most recently, Bill served as Interim Executive Director at Equality Michigan.
Bill resides in Detroit, is active on two non-profit boards, and is a volunteer mentor and tutors elementary and middle-school youth in Detroit.
Curt Guyette joined the ACLU of Michigan in the fall of 2013 as interim media liaison, and then made the transition to investigative reporter, a newly created position funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation. He now writes about exclusively issues involving emergency management and open government.
Giancarlo Guzman joined the ACLU of Michigan in April of 2015 as part of the education team where we believe that all children in Michigan should receive the same high quality of education. His responsibilities include community outreach and policy identification needed to improve the educational system throughout the state of Michigan.
Giancarlo is a Detroit native and community organizer with extensive experience partnering across public, private and municipal sectors with individuals and organizations to facilitate and improve communities and their functioning.
Elvira joined the ACLU of Michigan as the Administrative Assistant in our West Michigan Regional Office in June 2016. Before joining the ACLU Elvira advocated for patients at Spectrum Health dealing with the Marketplace, Medicaid and Financial Assistance. Having navigated the immigration process herself, Elvira became a strong advocate for farm workers in immigration matters, working at Farmworker Legal Services, Catholic Human Development Outreach, Varnum law firm, and most recently the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.
Assistant Director Of Finance & Administration
Paul Jeden joined the ACLU team in February 2006. He earned a B.A. with honors in Metro-Urban studies at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN. After graduation Paul worked as a Housing Specialist for the Wilder Foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota, then as a Homelessness Prevention Advocate for Person to Person in Minneapolis. In this position he placed Section 8 voucher holders into homes, advocated for low-income families who were at-risk of losing their housing, and supported the executive director in planning the spring fundraiser, building community partnerships, and conducting other development efforts.
LGBT Legal Project Staff Attorney
Jay Kaplan has been the staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan’s LGBT Project since its founding in 2001. He has worked on cases including challenging undercover sting operations targeting gay men, fighting Michigan’s constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying, defending the validity of second parent adoptions granted in Michigan, and recently advocating for a transgender high school student to be able to run for prom court. Jay was honored with the 2006 Unsung Hero Award from the Michigan State Bar and the 2010 Virginia Uribe Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association (NEA).
Development Operations Coordinator
Jennifer Keller serves as Development Operations Coordinator. She first joined the ACLU of Michigan in September 2012 as the Development Associate. In this role she is responsible for day-to-day operational aspects of the ACLU of Michigan’s Development team including database management, donor communications, and reporting and analytics. She also assists in the planning of all ACLU of Michigan donor events.
Bonsitu Kitaba is a Staff Attorney who joined the ACLU of Michigan in October of 2016. In that role, she is responsible for developing and litigating cutting-edge, high impact cases on a wide range of civil liberties issues as well as engaging in non-litigation advocacy and outreach.
Deputy Legal Director
Dan Korobkin has been with the ACLU of Michigan since 2008. He litigates on a broad range of civil liberties issues in Michigan, including free speech, juvenile justice, poverty, drug law reform, police misconduct, and prisoners’ rights. He also advocates outside the courtroom to advance civil liberties in Michigan by speaking to students, community groups, and the media. As deputy legal director, he helps oversee the ACLU’s legal program throughout the state.
Merissa Kovach joined the ACLU of Michigan as an intern in May 2008. Since then, she has served the ACLU in the capacity of Legislative Assistant, Field Organizer and currently Policy Strategist.
As the Policy Strategist, she is responsible for enhancing the political capacity and effectiveness of the ACLU by building local activist bases of ACLU members and assisting in the implementation of statewide issue campaigns. She is also responsible for meeting the administrative and program needs of the ACLU’s local units.
Rodd Monts joined the ACLU of Michigan’s legislative department as the field director in October 2010 tasked with managing advocacy efforts in support of the organization’s mission to preserve human rights and constitutional principles. His responsibilities also include proactively cultivating support for issue campaigns and overseeing community organizing and coalition building. The school-to-prison pipeline and juvenile life without parole issues are two major areas of focus for his initial work.
Kary L. Moss has served as the Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan since 1998. She earned a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University and a JD from CUNY Law School at Queen’s College. Prior to joining the ACLU of Michigan, she clerked at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and then served as staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project which was founded by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Michael J. Steinberg has served as the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan since 1997 and is responsible for overseeing all litigation taken on by the ACLU throughout the state. Steinberg earned a B.A. with honors from Wesleyan University in 1983 and is a 1989 cum laude graduate of Wayne State University Law School. Upon graduation, he clerked for the Hon. Marilyn Kelly on the Michigan Court of Appeals. He then established his own private practice in Ann Arbor where he specialized in civil rights litigation and civil and criminal appeals.
Kristin Totten joined the ACLU of Michigan as its education attorney in early 2016, taking up the case of Flint schoolchildren who were exposed to lead-poisoned water for two years as a result of the city's infamous water crisis.
Associate Director of Communications
Desire Vincent first joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan as a Digital Media Strategist in October 2016. She now serves as the Associate Director of Communications. In that role, she is responsible for making the ACLU of Michigan's digital media channels engaging and important resources for activists, journalists and citizens, by overseeing the development and production of dynamic content including blogs, e-mail marketing campaigns, and social media.
Shelli Weisberg joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan staff in 2003 to continue the ACLU’s longstanding commitment to a proactive legislative agenda in Lansing. Her primary responsibility is to persuade the legislature and administrative agencies to enact or amend legislation consistent with civil liberties principles. Shelli is responsible for developing and maintaining the legislative program by building coalitions consistent with ACLU policy; educating, motivating and organizing ACLU members for grassroots activity; and educating the public on the importance of legislative and administrative processes in the protection of civil liberties.