When the American civil rights leader, George A. Wiley, was engrossed with human right issues back in the 1960s; he least expected that his little daughter, Maya Wiley, will follow in his footsteps. One reason could be because she was going to grow up in a race-intolerant America. And secondly, because she’s a woman. Perhaps he never knew the fruits of his struggle, and that of many other civil rights front liners like Martin Luther King Jr.; would blossom so fast.
Well, if you’re wondering why and how? Then this post would tell you just how high and influential this black woman has become, in an America that wasn’t so black-friendly in the past. Maya Wiley’s rise to prominence is a true testament of the American dream. She is an eminent academic, legal analyst, and civil rights activist who has sat in positions of influence not likely for a black-skinned, let alone a woman. She is the founder and current President of the Center for Social Inclusion; a national public policy strategy organization that works to unite public policy research and grassroots advocacy to transform structural racial inequity into structural fairness and inclusion. Let’s see more.
Maya Wiley’s Age and Family Background
Maya Wiley was born in Washington, D.C., United States, on January 2, 1963, to the family of George and Wretha Wiley. As stated earlier, her father was an American civil rights leader and worked as a chemist. More so, he took a six-month Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) as a first lieutenant in the United States Army at Fort Lee, Virginia. Although details about her early life and education aren’t so available, we do know that she and her brother, whose identity is still at large, were raised in Washington D.C. Growing up, Wiley attended a city public school but was soon transferred to a private school when she was in 4th grade.
Following her graduation from high school, Wiley attended Dartmouth University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Also, Maya Wiley attended Southern Methodist University (SMU) on an equestrian scholarship. There, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Convergence Journalism in 2013. She then attended the Mississippi State University (MSU) where she bagged a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology, in 2016. Later, she enrolled at Columbia University and obtained her degree in Juris Doctorate.
Maya Wiley’s professional career timeline is fraught with several high-profile academic and advisory roles. Some of these include working as a racial justice advocate and digital equity strategist. She worked for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Education Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Open Society Institute before she was eventually made Chief Legal Advisor to New York City’s 109th Mayor, Bill de Blasio; in 2014. As a member of de Blasio’s cabinet, she worked to expand affordable broadband access across New York City, advance civil and human rights and gender equity, and increase the effectiveness of the New York’s support for Minority/Women-Owned Businesses.
A year before that, she was rumored to be in line for the office of President of the NAACP, but instead, the appointment went to lawyer and activist, Cornell William Brooks in May 2014. She also served as chairperson of the New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), an Independent and impartial police supervisory agency. In 2016, Maya Wiley became Senior Vice President for Social Justice at The New School and was also appointed the Henry Cohen Professor of Public and Urban Policy at The New School’s Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment.
Asides being a Legal Analyst for NBC News, Maya Wiley has also been a frequent contributor to top-notch news outlets such as Time Magazine, The Guardian, and Essence.com. On Monday, August 27, 2018, she was announced as an MSNBC legal analyst. A role she still holds to date.
In 2002, she founded the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI), a national policy strategy organization dedicated to dismantling structural racism. CSI began in the comfort of Maya Wiley’s home with a seed grant of $75,000 from the Open Society Institute as a project of the Tides Center. Wiley and her partner in work, Jocelyn Sargent, a political scientist, started CSI in the wake of the September 11 attacks, to bring policy strategy capacity to support inclusive public policy solutions to a devastated city; New York.
Who are Her Husband and Children?
Maya Wiley is currently married to her long-time boyfriend, Harlan Mandel. Mandel works as Chief Executive Officer of the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF). Nevertheless, there is hardly any detail about their pre-wedding life such as engagement, wedding date, and location.
Their union is blessed with two daughters whom they christened, Kai Wiley-Mandel and Naja Wiley-Mandel. Her social media handles have been her major platform where fans get to connect with her and get a peek into her private life. The family currently resides in Brooklyn, New York City. And they own two cats; Maxie and Romeo.
Height and Body Measurements
For a woman her age, Maya Wiley is blessed with what many will call a “young body.” Save for an expert age detector, Wiley will pass for a woman in her early forties whereas she’s eyeing her diamond jubilee already. She has a slim build; stands 6 feet (1.82 meters) tall; and mostly wears long braids, gracefully laced with grey strands to show her longevity. Asides having dark-brown eyeballs, not much is known about her weight and breast-waist-hips measurements. Her shoe, dress, and bra sizes are also not known as of this writing.
1. A Family of Fighters
Just like the John McCain family which can be identified with a long history of military service; the Wileys also has a history of civil rights activism. Prominent among her family members was her father. He was a legendary black civil rights leader in the class of Martin Luther King Jr. Maya also began her activism, winning several debate competitions related to racial justice back in college.
2. Maya Has Just Two Children
We’re not sure if this was influenced by her family growing up. But Maya Wiley’s decision for two daughters (Kai and Naja) mirrors her early childhood where she was one of two children. In a 1960 America where black families were known for high ‘child-count’, the Wileys kept it at just two.
3. The Family have Two Cats
Yes! Maxie and Romeo are not just pets, they’re family now. The two cats also hold a definite place in the Wiley family. Besides they’ve got very fancy names. If no one ever told you, you’ll never believe they’re actually pussy cats.