The North Dakota Human Rights Coalition is appreciative to all of those who become involved. On this page you will find our Board of Directors, volunteers, and supporters.
Board Of Directors
The North Dakota Human Rights Coalition currently has a board of directors consisting of 13 diverse individuals
Bre founded For The People, a community focused organization. Bre is a woman of color and a member of the LGBTQI+ community. She was born and raised in Minot, ND. Bre’s goal is to help everyone find the community they fit in with, while at the same time fighting for human rights. When Bre is not trying to change the world, she plays video games and hangs out with her cat, Kenya. Let’s make the world a better place, starting with our little part of it.
Shawn Anderson has been a ND resident, for the second time, since 2006. He currently serves Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) as the Dean of Student Affairs and is a member of the M State President’s Council on Equity and Inclusion. Shawn is very passionate about human rights and seeks to advance them in everything he does. In his free time he enjoys attending his nieces and nephews various sporting events and is an avid fan of Roller Derby.
Born in South Sudan, Nyamal was forced by a violent conflict during her childhood to trek thousands of miles into the neighboring Ethiopia and eventually into a refugee camp in Kenya. After a few years in the camps, Nyamal made it to the United States where she now calls home. Despite her struggles, Nyamal obtained a B.S. from NDSU and is pursuing a master program in public health at the Benedictine University. She is the founder and executive director of South Sudan READS, and is helping build a community learning center and women empowerment program in Fargo and South Sudan. She was a board member of panelists at the United States Institute of peace and is now a board member of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition. She is also a member of the United Nations Association, Change Network, NEW Leadership, and the North Dakota Women’s Network
Michelle Rydz is the founder and Executive Director of High Plains Fair Housing Center. Michelle began her career as a community organizer in Chicago and later worked with the National Democratic Institute on developing advocacy projects in Romania after the fall of communism. Michelle studied fair housing law, testing practices, and the complaint process at the John Marshall Fair Housing Legal Support Center in Chicago. She also studied with the National Fair Housing Alliance. She advocates for victims of housing discrimination in North Dakota
Alex McCann Johnson
Alex McCann Johnson started the Williston Rainbow Rendezvous in 2015 to bring awareness to the LGBT community in western North Dakota. Since that day, the Rainbow Rendezvous has been used to create, connect, and encourage community for LGBT people and Allies. Alex has worked to create inclusion for all people, marching for marriage equality on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, creating the cultural event Bridging the Gap in Williston, Alex is just one of many who are trying to make North Dakota a place of equality. Alex is a board member for the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, the president of Rainbow Rendezvous, and coordinator for the ND LGBTQ+ Summit. He is also author of Shadow in the Light, a finalist in the International Book Awards for the LGBTQ category.
Sean Coffman is 7th generation descendent of German-Irish immigrants. Coffman is an award-winning independent filmmaker who currently resides in Fargo, North Dakota. He is committed to developing and producing work that brings context to local and world issues by giving a voice to the underserved, the neglected and the oppressed. Coffman is the Founder and current Executive Director of The Human Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting human rights and social justice through film and art. As of 2020, The Human Family is also the steward of the Fargo-Moorhead LGBT Film Festival. Coffman has a B.A. in Social Theory, Social Structure and Change with an Emphasis in Global Social Theory from Empire State College; studied Humanitarian Diplomacy through the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies; and has studied in Geneva at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.
Dr. Nandita Bezbaruah is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Dr. Bezbaruah has a doctorate in Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, MSW, with specialization in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work and MPA, with focus on Nonprofits. She is currently a Board member of North Dakota Human Rights Coalition. Some of her research interests are health disparities, determinants of human behavior, academic service learning, and food insecurity among college students.
Richard L J Rockefeller
Richard was born and has lived most of his years in the Red River Valley. He cut his advocacy and public education teeth during the beginnings of the restorative justice movement in the early 1990’s.
To usher in the Violence Against Women’s Act of 1994, we were training and creating volunteer rural safe houses for victims of domestic violence and her children while simultaneously working to educate law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. As survivors of rape, incest, and child domestic trauma, we were “Taking Back the Night” on college campuses. Richard served as transporter, crisis advocate, public educator, and board visionary.
Dave has lived in the Fargo-Moorhead area for over 25 years. He is a real estate broker and his most satisfying sales are when he helps an immigrant or refugee find their first home. He believes that all people deserve affordable safe homes. He is drawn to the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition because of their support of human rights for all people.
Brandi Hardy is a decorated US Army veteran and the former founder of a local non-profit. For the past eight years, she has provided professional training all over the state of North Dakota; engaged with thousands of community members, in-person and through an online awareness campaign; and has worked directly with survivors of addiction, homelessness, and exploitation. In 2017, she was recognized by the United States Attorney’s Office – District of North Dakota, with an Honorable Mention Award for ongoing research to strategize a cost-efficient way to provide mental, physical, and emotional healing to survivors of human trafficking. In 2018, she was also recognized as a Woman of the Year nominee through the North Dakota Women’s Network. Brandi and her wife have two children. She fully understands the importance of being a strong role model while providing as many safe opportunities and spaces in a conservative community. Her family’s unique experiences help her understand the difficulties of unfamiliar, yet necessary conversations. She believes it’s crucial to give individuals purpose and empowerment to strengthen our communities. Brandi volunteers with Dakota OutRight and Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue. In her free time, you will find her outside hiking, running, snowboarding, and exploring with her family
Faye Seidler - Arc of Justice Award Winner, 2020
Faye has been a tireless advocate on behalf of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community (LGBTQ+). She does extensive research so her presentations and writings are carefully based on data and verified information interspersed with her lived experience.
When the need for better access to healthcare for transgender individuals with low income came to Dr. Lenzmeier’s attention in 2017, he reached out to Faye about the possibility of starting a clinic near and around the Fargo-Moorhead area. Excited by the idea, Faye went on to connect Dr. Lenzmeier with Cody from Community Uplift Program, and the three spent months researching how they might open a clinic. While the prospect seemed daunting at first, the reality became more and more feasible as time went on, and so the Harbor Health Clinic opened under the nonprofit umbrella from Community Uplift Program and became the only informed consent clinic for 150 miles in the Fargo-Moorhead area at that time. At her urging, and with her help, other clinics such as Planned Parenthood and Canopy Medical Center now also offer hormone therapy using informed consent, so options have been successfully expanded for trans and nonbinary individuals looking to transition.
She is always available for presentations before professional organizations and gatherings large and small. She provides testimony before the state legislature and city commissions and councils. She has worked to create a directory of health and mental health resources for the LGBTQ+ community. Lately she has focused on the state of youth growing up in North Dakota and is organizing efforts to create safe places for LGBTQ+ youth in every North Dakota school.’
Thank you, Faye!