Mustafa M. Ali-Smith
Hello everyone, and thanks for stopping by to learn a bit more about myself, musings, and everything in between. Firstly, a bit about myself. I am a South Side Chicago native, raised in Nashville, TN. I have been known to be an individual that lives in my purpose each and every day. Per my childhood experiences, I thrive in environments where diverse perspectives and skill-sets are valued. Over the years, this has been something that i have come to value tremendously.
Educated at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration and minor in Political Science, I have had the opportunity see the world differently in the realm of public policy, inequities, communities, and their intersectionality. Inevitably, I have grown to believe that it is our soulful duty to participate in civic engagement to ensure we are forever committed to the growth of the communities around us. I believe that change comes not just from the legal field but from advocacy and civic engagements on the ground in communities.
My time at the University of Tennessee has always been about serving communities of marginalized students, speaking out against injustices, and creating a place where civic engagement is encouraged and celebrated to change systems of oppression. For four years, I tunneled this advocacy through the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Chapter. There, I served as the Political Action Chair where I emphasized the importance of civic engagement and voting through different programs and events in the community. Additional roles served within the NAACP were Vice-President and President.
In 2016 I founded the Student Political Alliance, a nonpartisan, non-profit, public issues and idea based forum in Knoxville, TN. The first of its kind, the organization serves as a vital complement not only to a colligate education but to the community for civil discourse. Through the organization's mission, I work with community stakeholders and campus leaders to emphasize the importance of civil dialogue among our worlds most pressing topics, encourage civic engagement, and ensure that members of the organization are fostering a social impact within their communities. Students here are able to emerge themselves in political education and dialogue no matter their beliefs.
Since its inception in 2016 the Student Political Alliance has been cited in various news outlets and campaigns in the community. These have ranged from campus wide voting initiatives that were organized to increase voter turnout for youth to focusing on the stigma of mental health on college campuses. As media attention picked up for the Student Political Alliance, I was chosen to give a TEDx fireside talk at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville detailing the founding of the organization and its importance in the community.
Accompanied by the efforts to promote civil discourse among students, I have always made it a priority to inform students about the power they hold when they get out to vote. I have organized numerous voter registration efforts outside of the Student Political Alliance and the NAACP in the Knoxville community emphasizing the importance of youth and minority votes, partnering with local organizations to assist in the effort.
As I continue in my efforts of advocacy, I will be matriculating at the University of Pennsylvania in December 2019 as a candidate in the Master of Liberal Arts program in the School of Arts & Sciences. The interdisciplinary and individualized approach of the program will allow me to base my research on systems of oppression and education.
Aside from academia and community involvement, I am the host of Redesign America, a podcast for change makers where I bring in members of the community and academia to discuss current topics through personal stories, testimony and their research. The platform is geared toward exposing listeners to different lens of the world so that they leave with a new perspective and outlook.
If you are interested in more of my work ad would like to reach out to me, I can be contacted at email@example.com.
Peace and blessings,