Equality Michigan announced the appointment of Leah Taraskiewicz as the Interim Director of Victims Services. For the last three years, Taraskiewicz has served as a victims advocate, working closely with Yvonne Siferd, the longstanding, previous Director of Victims Services who has recently transitioned out of EQMI for a return to private practice. Taraskiewicz will lead the Department of Victims Services while a search for a permanent Director is launched and a successor is brought on board.
“I am incredibly thankful to Yvonne for her many years of service to our community and guidance to this Department. She has now organized for Leah to step in and seamlessly continue this vital work,” said Stephanie White, Executive Director. “Our community owes Yvonne a big debt of gratitude for selflessly giving so much of herself over the years.”
“And now I couldn’t be more excited to have Leah step into this key role as we continue to build a new Equality Michigan team of high-quality, professional talent that can lead us in achieving our political and social service goals,” White continued. “Leah not only brings compassion and fresh leadership to our victims services work, she also brings her analytical thinking on how to create policies, procedures and systems that ultimately better serve survivors of violence and discrimination in Michigan. We’re lucky to have her in this time of transition.”
Prior to her recent appointment, Taraskiewicz participated in various anti-violence movements, specifically work to end domestic violence and sexual assault over several years. Taraskiewicz worked previously as a community educator at the DC Rape Crisis Center and for the Prevention Education Team at HAVEN in Oakland County. In these positions, she focused many of her efforts on uplifting the needs of LGBTQ survivors and worked on public health prevention efforts that would serve LGBTQ communities.
“I am thrilled to be able to contribute to the Equality Michigan team in this new capacity. I plan to use this opportunity to further our commitment to supporting survivors of violence and discrimination by realigning the department’s focus on creating synergy with the rest of Equality Michigan’s work. I am looking forward to setting the stage for the next great director to come lead our efforts even further,” said Taraskiewicz.
With a demonstrated history of fighting oppression, especially around issues related to gender and racial justice, Taraskiewicz brings an abiding passion for intersectional social justice and deep experience advocating for survivors of violence, traits essential for this transitional leadership role. She is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in International Studies.