of Evanston, IL is a speaker, writer, and activist working against the designating of any group as “Other”. She focuses on the universal experience of the injustice of “appearance-ism” (appearance-based judging of ourselves and others), as a core issue to inspire everyone to combat all types of bias.
Anya’s programs for children through seniors offer practical strategies for bridging divides of religion and ethnicity and for crossing into one another’s lives. She addresses teasing, bullying, stereotyping, racism, homophobia, and discounting associated with age or health-related challenges. After the 1999 hate-inspired murder of a neighbor by a white-supremacist targeting blacks, Jews, and Asians, Anya rallied her community by organizing town hall meetings and nightly walks from the intersection where the murder occurred. This work was featured in a museum exhibit entitled “Choosing to Participate: Everyday Heroes”.
Following September 11, 2001, Anya, who is Jewish, reached out to strangers and founded “The Campaign for Collateral Compassion” to raise awareness of the backlash against Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and others and the murders of innocent members of these groups. Anya sought aid for the victims’ families and implored the media to cover these tragedies.
Anya is also the author of RACE: An Open & Shut Case, a double-sided parable that unravels traditional presumptions of what we call “race”. She presented this work at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in South Africa. Anya credits the people who supported Anne Frank’s family while in hiding with inspiring her work.