Anne "Aaron" Silander attended Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, for a time before moving to Iowa City in 1970. She was involved with a number of progressive grassroots social movements in Iowa City, beginning in the 1970s and participated in the publication of a local radical feminist newspaper, Ain't I a Woman? When all of the print shops in eastern Iowa refused to print the first issue of Ain't I a Woman?, Silander and other local feminists established the Iowa City Women's Press in 1972. Silander was active in a number of feminist collectives and organizations, including the Childcare Collective, the Women's Liberation Front, and later, the Women's Resource and Action Council (WRAC). Her activism was tied to her interest in issues of class, sexual identity, and race. Silander served as a research assistant for the Center for Excellence for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered People. In 2005, Silander received an MA in social work at the University of Iowa.