About us

Welcome to the Equality Michigan Action Network, the non-partisan political advocacy voice for Michigan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Equality Michigan Action Network has been Michigan’s premiere political advocacy organization serving the LGBTQ+ community for over 25 years and counting.

Equality Michigan Action Network engages, educates, and moves political leaders and voters to take action on the issues that matter most to LGBTQ+ Michiganders. We provide policy expertise, political acumen, and broad-based relationships across the political spectrum to propel our mission: To achieve full equality and respect for all Michigan residents regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

OUR STAFF

ERIN KNOTT

Executive Director

eknott@equalitymi.org

Erin Knott is the Executive Director at Equality Michigan Action Network. She is a progressive activist, who has dedicated herself to championing social and economic justice and equality for all. Erin has extensive experience working on high-impact campaigns, involving a combination of legislative, public education and organizing strategies. She began her career investing resources and human capital into Kalamazoo’s urban neighborhoods, and has nearly two decades working on issue campaigns at the local, state and federal levels.

Erin served as the Michigan State Director for Enroll America where she worked in collaboration to coordinate enrollment efforts in the Michigan Marketplace. She previously served as the Michigan Political Director for America Votes and Deputy Director for Michigan Citizen Action. She has forged and strengthened collaborative efforts with advocacy organizations, labor unions, student groups, communities of color, faith-based organizations, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities by working in coalitions across all levels.

Erin has made Kalamazoo her home for over twenty years. She served on the Kalamazoo City Commission for six years, and served as the Vice Mayor from 2017 – 2019.

EMME ZANOTTI

Director of Advocacy & Civic Engagement

ezanotti@equalitymi.org

Emme is a dedicated advocate for equality, having committed herself to wide range of LGBTQ+ organizations and causes. She has grown her advocacy and civic engagement-résumé and invested in her community over the last decade, taking integral roles in candidate campaign management, statewide caucus leadership, progressive coalition advisory, non-profit board service, and enhancing LGBTQ+ issue awareness and protections in the private sector.

As a transgender woman, who too often relied or had to rely on self-advocacy, Emme’s passion is in coalition-building, empowering fellow-LGBTQ+ Michiganders to enter the advocacy arena, and making sure the community is well-represented at the tables where decision-making is happening about their lives and well-being. She is a former board member at Stand with Trans where she still facilitates a monthly support group for young trans women, and she most recently served as co-Chair and Vice Chair of the #HateWont Win Coalition and the Michigan Democratic Party’s LGBT&A Caucus, respectively.

Emme was raised in Bay City, graduated from Alma College, spent five years living in Ann Arbor, and now has her roots firmly planted in the Metro Detroit area.

LEILA FARWANA

Senior Director of Communications & Donor Engagement

lfarwana@equalitymi.org

Leila Farwana is an experienced community engagement specialist and has spent her entire career as a champion for progressive social causes, including researching solutions for the opioid crisis, community organizing for clean water in Flint, fundraising for affordable housing and to house individuals experiencing homelessness, ending hunger in Metro Detroit, and of course, fighting for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community.

Leila began her post-graduate career in an assistant position at Equality Michigan and is so thrilled to rejoin the team as Director of Community Engagement. She is responsible for developing and executing a comprehensive strategy to engage Equality Michigan’s community of supporters and beyond, and manages Equality Michigan’s online profile and impact across all communications platforms.

Leila graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Neuroscience and Women’s Studies. She remains deeply involved with the University and serves on the LSA Young Alumni Council. She lives in Ferndale with her husband and dog.

AXEL MOSS

Communications & Development Manager

amoss@equalitymi.org

Axel Moss is a young advocate with a decade of experience. Awarded “Breaking Boundaries in Non-traditional Careers” in 2016 by the Governor, Axel was shattering glass ceilings as a teenager and continues to do so. In college, Axel worked on establishing LGBTQ+ housing, changing outdated policies, and LGBTQ+ education & advocacy. He is an Outstanding Graduate with a Bachelor’s in Communication with a focus in Public Advocacy and a minor in Public Relations. Outside of university, Axel has worked in Title IX, welding, and countless service jobs. He spent the 2022 election as Finance Director of the Bernstein & Bolden Campaigns for Supreme Court Justice during the removal of Roe V. Wade.

Axel has researched how communications between two individuals change as one person transitions in undergrad and is hoping to continue and expand this work in graduate school one day. He has a personal drive to expand human rights with a focus on disability.

Axel lives with his Wife, brother-sister, dog, and cat in the woods of Southeast Michigan. They enjoy gardening, living off the land, reading, and playing board games.

ABBY CHERRY

Campaign Manager

acherry@equalitymi.org

Abby is a skilled community organizer and passionate LGBTQ+ member and advocate, with over a decade of experience in civic engagement. Her journey started as an Americorp VISTA in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, and she later served as a city commissioner from 2017 to 2021. With a strong background in community organizing and fundraising, Abby firmly believes in the power of community engagement and volunteerism to create lasting, positive change.

Now, as the Northwest Campaign Manager for Equality Michigan (EQMI), Abby is thrilled to merge her LGBTQ+ advocacy with her dedication to improving Michigan. Her enthusiasm for driving change is palpable, and she looks forward to engaging, informing, and educating our communities on LGBTQ+ legislation and policy.

In her new role, Abby’s goal is to empower individuals with knowledge and resources, fostering a deeper understanding of LGBTQ+ rights and issues. She envisions a future where discrimination is a thing of the past, and all Michiganders can live authentically without fear of prejudice. Together, she believes, we can make this vision a reality.

Abby will always be a Yooper, but resides now in Traverse City with her partner.

EQMI ACTION NETWORK BOARD OF DIRECTORS

FINANCIAL INFORMATION