The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Maya Wiley '86

Maya Wiley is a nationally recognized civil rights lawyer and racial justice advocate, a Legal Analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and a former top candidate for New York City Mayor in the 2021 Democratic primary. Wiley’s run for Mayor was historic. Running on a platform to make New York City a more just, fair and affordable city, she was the first woman of color to be a top contender, receiving the second highest number of first choice votes in the rank choice primary. Prior to her run, Wiley had a national reputation as a forceful leader and a lengthy career singularly focused on improving the lives of people of color and low-income people, through academia as the Senior Vice President for Social Justice at the New School University and a Professor of Public & Urban policy; as the former Chair of the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board, moving the case against the police officer who killed Eric Garner; as the first Black woman to the a Counsel to a New York City Mayor; as a policy advocate through the non-profit she founded, the Center for Social Inclusion (now a part of Race Forward); and as a litigator at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and US Attorney’s Office in New York. She has received numerous awards and has authored opinion editorials for multiple news outlets including the The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Time, Essence.com, Fast Company, and the New York Daily News.

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences