About Us

We combine social activism with justice-centered artistic expression through performance, resources, and community collaboration.




VFSJ employees at a sidewalk event talking with an elderly man on a sunny day.

Equity Statement

Voices for Social Justice is a nonprofit organization that works to combine activism with artistic practice. We develop programming that engages with our community to promote social change, we develop resources to build equity in artistic educational spaces, and we create artistic platforms for all peoples to share their stories. At the heart of what we do is championing the human voice, whether that be singing, story telling, empowerment, or advocacy, Voices for Social Justice is an accomplice in efforts to dismantle oppressive systems that silence any and all voices.

Our Team

Headshot of Joe Millea
Joe Millea
Web Person
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Joe’s go-to empowerment song is: “hope ur ok” by Olivia Rodrigo.

Joe is a UX designer, educator, & musician. He is an alumnus of Arizona State University, and the University of Minnesota. He works as a designer and consultant in Phoenix, AZ. In addition, Joe is Director of Operations at Heartland Marimba, a performing arts non-profit based out of Waterloo, IA.

Joe is has a DMA in percussion performance and enjoys performing, teaching, and composing whenever possible. In his free time you can find him cooking, drinking coffee, reading, playing Halo, and making an attempt at mixing complicated cocktails.
Headshot of Mirinda Diabase
Mirinda Dibiase
Graphic Designer
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Mirinda’s go-to empowerment song is: “Sorry not Sorry” by Demi Lovato.

Mirinda DiBiase graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Visual Communication. She has over seven years of experience in the
graphic design industry and has an extreme passion for all things creative. Some of these creative passions include: Saying she would love to learn to play the ukulele, getting one as a birthday present, trying to learn how to play “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” for a few weeks then unabashedly buying a wall mount so it looks like she’s mastered said instrument, singing in her car at the top of her lungs and then quickly quieting down if another car drives up next to her, taking an extensive amount of pictures of her cat with no intention of posting them anywhere (she doesn’t want to be perceived as a cat lady, after all), and finding ways to have a laugh with her friends and family while imagining how to create an awesome birthday video for
each of them. If learning more about Mirinda is something you would enjoy (maybe to find out if she ever learned how to play the ukulele), check out her portfolio website: mcdibiase.com
Kait Ahlschwede
Executive Director
Headshot of Kait Ahlschwede
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Kait’s go-to empowerment song is: “Level Up” by Vienna Teng.

Kait is an aspiring mental health professional, informal music educator, community organizer, and avid arts advocate. She is a proud Arizona State University Sun Devil holding a B.A in Arts Administration and a B.M. in Music. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Southern California where her research is focused on socially engaged art and trauma-informed practices in artistic spaces. After working in nonprofit fundraising for several years, Kait has transitioned her career to social services, where she spends her days working in healthcare case management. As a natural people-person, she is grateful for all of the relationships her work has allowed her to build, and as a spread-sheet wizard (nerd?), she lives for the strategic planning that goes into maintaining organizational structures. Kait is a trained oboist and mezzo-soprano who enjoys gigging with local groups and teaching a small studio of emerging musicians. In her free time you can find her playing volleyball, listening to podcasts, or trying a new recipe. Kait is passionate about supporting local businesses, volunteering, and drinking wine.
Michael McKenzie
Artistic Director
Headshot of Michael McKenzie
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs
Michael’s go-to empowerment song is: the cover of “Rise” by Superfruit, Mary Lambert, Brian Justin Crum, and Mario Jose

Michael McKenzie (they/them/theirs) is a national award-winning conductor and music educator, whose work centers around the power that choral music has to affect social change. Outside of their work as Artistic Director of Voices for Social Justice, Michael is pursuing their MM in Choral Conducting at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University –
Long Beach. There, Michael serves as the Director of the Beach Chorus and as a Teaching Assistant for the University Choir. Prior to this, Michael was the Founder and Director of two Social Justice Choirs at Gustavus Adolphus College, and their performances earned them 2nd place in The American Prize for Choral Conducting - Community Division and an invitation to
present a concert at The 2020 Nobel Conference. Michael graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College, summa cum laude, in 2019 with a BA in Music Education and certification in K-12 Vocal, Instrumental, and Classroom music. Michael is a member of the Music Honors Society Pi Kappa Lambda and the Education Honors Society Kappa Delta Pi, and holds professional affiliations with the American Choral Director’s Association, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and the National Associate for Music Education.
Paul Loesel
Board Member
Headshot of Paul Loesel
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Paul’s go-to empowerment song is: “Love Make the World Go Round” by Jennifer Lopez and Lin-Manuel Miranda

Paul Loesel is an Assistant Conductor and keyboardist with the Broadway company of WICKED. His songs, along with lyricist Scott Burkell, have been performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and Birdland. They have received a Jonathan Larson Foundation Grant and the Burton Lane Award for their musicals THE EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY and LMNOP, which is now available for licensing through Samuel French. Recordings of their work appear on Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley’s OPPOSITE YOU, Stephanie J. Block’s THIS PLACE I KNOW, Rebecca Luker’s GREENWICH TIME, and their own album, SORTA LOVE SONGS (Sh-K-Boom Records, itunes, amazon.com). As a social and political activist, Paul has brought Broadway performances to political fundraising in support of the New York chapter of Sister district. www.scottandpaul.com.
Nik Ridley
Board Member
Headshot of Nik Ridley
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Nik’s go-to empowerment song is: “As” by Stevie Wonder

Nik’s passion is creating unique residential, corporate, and event-specific art. From exhibitions, fundraising events, and live paintings, to trainings and youth workshops, he uses art to facilitate memorable experiences. Nik provides fine art for residential and business interiors, and exhibits in galleries and art spaces, and provides online/social media marketing and design consultation. Art allows Nik the freedom to express color, rhythm, text, and content in infinite ways. Design provides a structure for the ideas. And when placed on the right cloth, its like a living stage, pen, and canvas all rolled into one. A proud Purdue Boilermaker, Nik found himself enchanted by the beauty, culture and freedom of the Southwest, and I have been fortunate to have such a rich, artistic journey. Currently, Nikis a Resident Artist at Phoenix Center for the Arts Thunderbird Arts Center, where he also serves as the Youth Department Head. In addition, Nik is a Member of Arizona State University - Gammage Teaching Artists Program (produced in collaboration with the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts), teaching the KennedyCenter arts integration method via public school residencies.
Luigi Enriquez
‍Board Member
Headshot of Luigi Enriquez
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Luigi’s go-to empowerment song is: “Til We Reach That Day" from Ragtime The Musical

Luigi Enriquez is an active performer, conductor, and educator, based in Iowa City, Iowa. He presently serves as the Associate Director of Choirs at Iowa City West High School where he directs multiple curricular ensembles, Vox Novus Pop A capella Choir, and the Good Time Company Show Choir. He also serves as the Coordinator of Music Ministry at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Coralville, IA where he leads a vibrant and varied church music program. Luigi currently appears on choral rosters for The Chamber Singers of Iowa City, Vocal Artists of Iowa, and most recently on Stacey V. Gibbs and Just Music, led by acclaimed composer and director, Stacey Gibbs. Luigi is a proud graduate of Luther College in Decorah, IA where he studied viola and voice, and was heavily involved with opera, vocal jazz, and sang in multiple choirs including the Luther College Nordic Choir. Outside of music, he loves reading, cooking with friends, and is always up for a game of basketball.

Board Member
Pronouns: Se/Her/Hers
Lindsey’s go-to empowerment song is: Evolve” Ani Difranco

Lindsey Krause is a long-time advocate of utilizing the arts across disciplines to enhance
wellness and promote social justice. Lindsey is a proverbial Jane of all trades and “master of
almost four of them.” She holds a multifocal Master’s Degree concentrated on Psychology,
Expressive Arts Therapy, Social Justice, and Non-profit Arts. She is currently working as a
Creative Technologist in web development and holds Full Stack Web Development credentials
from the University of Arizona. In addition to serving on the board of Voices for Social Justice,
Lindsey is a Technical Management Consultant for a local non-profit arts organization in her
hometown of Phoenix, AZ. She is an exhibited and award winning artist, proficient in oil painting
and practiced in the self imposed method of “chaotic-time-sensitive-TV-character-
watercoloring.” In the rare free moments afforded, Lindsey enjoys ideating, coding, artisting, and
napping in sunbeams.
Aleah Felton
Board Member
Headshot of Aleah Felton
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Aleah’s go-to empowerment song is: “Worth Fighting For” by Brian Courtney Wilson

A recent graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, Aleah Felton is a teacher of English LanguageArts to secondary students. Throughout her upbringing and education, Aleah has found passion within the power of music, singing in church and school ensembles throughout her life. Although she has concluded her collegiate choir journey, Aleah continues to serve in worship arts at her home church, as she has done most of her life. Through enriching musical experiences, Aleah has found that music unifies humanity across the diaspora of ages and life experiences, bringing people together in even the lowest and toughest of times. Additionally, she has also learned that music continues to live on through the people it affects even outside of the musical experience itself. Words and music have power. Through this organization, Aleah is excited to explore that power through amplifying human experiences.