Keynote Speaker

Monday, May 20 | 8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. | Ballroom C

Maryum Ali is this year's AJA Keynote Speaker. She is the eldest of Muhammad Ali’s nine children. As a little girl, her father asked her what she thought her purpose in life was and she replied, “I want to help people.” Her efforts to help people have manifested in myriad ways throughout her life.
In the 1990s, Maryum performed as a stand-up comedian and recorded an album on Scotti Brother’s Records as a hip-hop artist. Most of her entertainment content included insightful observations and addressed social issues. Her music promoted spirituality and high moral conduct. However, when the rap music industry began focusing on music filled with violence and female exploitation, she decided to find a more direct way of inspiring youth.
Maryum left show business and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA degree in social work. She has 15 years of experience in juvenile delinquency prevention, gang prevention and youth development. She has worked with more than 300 families as a case manager and program director, and was a regional manager for the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development in the City of Los Angeles.
In 2016, A&E Network heard about Maryum’s work in high crime communities and invited her to participate in their new docuseries, 60 Days In, where she spent time in a Jeffersonville, Indiana jail.
Maryum is currently developing a three-year pilot program to provide comprehensive gang prevention and youth development services. She is also a public speaker, and has appeared on TV networks such as CNN, MSNBC, ABC, Lifetime, and the Hallmark Channel.