Become a Board Member                        AFFINITY Staff                               About Us

Anna DeShawn, President,

a member of the board since 2013, is a 34 year old Chicago-born social entrepreneur. Anna graduated from Drake University in 2005 with a degree in radio/television production. She went on to study corporate communications at Ithaca College and graduated with her masters in 2007. Media has always been Anna’s passion so she turned her passion into a reality when she founded E3 Radio, LLC. E3 Radio is an online radio network that produces authentically-edgy media to affect real change. Anna and the QCREW host a weekly show for Queer People of Color (QPOC) around the country every Thursday at 8pm CT. Past Guests include Lena Waithe, Affinity Community Services, C.C. Carter, Coquie Hughes, Hanifah Walidah, KIN4LIFE, Mary Morton and many others. Anna DeShawn is determined to ride media into its next era by utilizing online radio streams to tell the stories that need to be heard.

Email: anna.deshawn at affinity95 dot org

Jasmine “Jas” Thurmond, Treasurer

a member of the board since November 2014, is a native Chicagoan. J as graduated from Concordia University in 2014 with a M.A. in Educational Leadership, and she is pursuing a M.A. at Chicago State University in English Language and Literature. Jas is passionate about social justice, especially within education. She believes that all children are entitled to and should receive an academically rigorous and culturally relevant education that will effectively prepare them for college or a career. Because of this passion, Jas continues to serve as an English/Reading Instructor, as well as in various other Educational Leadership roles.

Jas has facilitated and participated in a myriad of activities in Chicago’s LGBT community, including co-hosting G-Spot Radio Show, a weekly live talk radio show, where she interviewed guests such as Leela James, Marwan, Dr. Jackie Anderson, Natalie “The Floacist” Stewart, Laurinda D. Brown, and others. Jas was a founding board member of Chicago State University’s first Gay-Straight Alliance, Helping Others Regarding Orientation (H.E.R.O.); in addition, she received The Windy City Times’ 30 under 30 Award in 2008. Jas has worked with other non-profit organizations, as well, such as the K.L.E.O. Center, International Federation of Black Prides, and Betty Shabazz International Charter Schools to write and secure private, state, and federal grants. She looks forward to using her position on Affinity’s Board of Directors to affect change and provide assistance to all.

Email: jas.thurmond at affinity95 dot org

Aisha Davis, Board Member,

joined the Board in October of 2017. Aisha N. Davis, Esq., is a fellow at Loevy & Loevy and was born in Washington, DC and raised in Maryland. After attending Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA, she went on to Columbia Law School and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies for her JD and LLM, respectively. As an avid student of intersectionality, Aisha has worked on civil rights issues throughout her legal career, including work with Amnesty International, the Human Rights Foundation, Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies, the African American Policy Forum, and Lambda Legal. Since her move to Chicago, Aisha has continued this mission through her work with Affinity Community Services, the Pride Action Tank, and as a board member of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance.

Email: aisha.davis at affinity95 dot org

Jessica Peters, Board Member,

joined the Board in October of 2017. Jessica Peters, is a nonprofit and political development consultant with a background in equipping marginalized populations and activating individuals to fight for their happiness. Jessica has over 15 years of experience working with businesses, corporations, grass-root organizations, and community leaders to drive impact for the LGBTQ+ collective.  Prior to moving to Chicago, Jessica was passionately devoted to changing the world in Kansas City, where she grew up. Jessica maintains her optimistic outlook on life through reading a book every week or two and spending time outside every time it rains. She believes that by finding and living for one’s happiness, space is created for authenticity to prosper and equality to be achievable.

Email: jessica.peters at affinity95 dot org

Betsy “Jovan” Watkins, Board Member,
joined the Board in February of 2018. Jovan manages the social media presence at Affinity and also serves as the volunteer coordinator at Affinity. She is an Information Technology Analyst for a Fortune 500 company. In addition, Jovan works within the City Colleges of Chicago in the Disability Access Center, where she is a proud union member. Being the eldest child of hearing-impaired parents, she learned that advocacy for all marginalized groups is the only way to ensure the rights of all. Prior to her activism and non-profit work, Jovan worked for the U.S. Department of Education as a federal contractor for roughly 10 years. Her experience with higher education makes her a strong advocate for equity and accessibility of higher education. She is also the Board President for BreakThrough Movement, a youth outreach program that fosters young activists through collaborative arts creation.

Email: jovan.watkins at affinity95 dot org