The Sage Colleges Names Civil Rights Activist Maya Wiley as 2019 Commencement Speaker
Maya Wiley, a nationally renowned expert on racial justice and equity, will address The Sage Colleges’ Class of 2019 and guests at Sage’s 102nd Commencement on Saturday, May 11, 2019.
Christopher Ames, president of The Sage Colleges, said he is pleased that Wiley will be addressing Sage graduates this year.
"Maya Wiley's career epitomizes what Sage teaches about putting your values into action and making a difference in society,” Ames said. “Our students and their families will welcome a commencement message about social justice and bridging the divides in American society."
Wiley is the senior vice president for Social Justice at the New School University and the Henry Cohen professor of public and urban policy at The New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy. She has litigated, lobbied the U.S. Congress and developed programs to transform structural racism in the U.S. and in South Africa.
Wiley founded and currently co-directs the New School’s Digital Equity Laboratory. She is the co-chair of the New York City Department of Education’s School Diversity Working Group, where she creates recommendations on school desegregation. As the former chair of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), she helped aid the independent oversight agency on police misconduct in the New York City Police Department.
Prior to her roles with the New School and the CCRB, she served as counsel to the Mayor of the City of New York from 2014-2016. As Mayor Bill de Blasio’s chief legal advisor and a member of his Senior Cabinet, she was at the helm of the Mayor’s commitment to expanding affordable broadband access across New York City, advancing civil and human rights and gender equity and increasing the effectiveness of the City's support for minority/women Owned Business Enterprises. During her tenure, she also served as the Mayor's liaison to the Mayor's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary.
Prior to her work with Mayor de Blasio, Wiley was the founder and president of the Center for Social Inclusion. She has also worked for the Open Society Foundation in the U.S. and in South Africa, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund Inc., the American Civil Liberties Union and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
She has written numerous opinion editorials for major news outlets, including The Guardian, Time Magazine, Essence.Com, Fast Company and the NY Daily News. In 2018, Wiley was named one of the world’s top 100 leaders in Digital Government by Apolitical. In 2016, Good Housekeeping Magazine honored her as one of its “50 over 50.” City and State Magazine named Wiley one of the 100 most powerful people in New York City in 2014 and in 2015. In 2011, she was named one of "20 Leading Black Women Social Activists Advocating Change" by TheRoot.com and a Moves Power Woman in 2009 by the magazine.
In 2018, Wiley joined NBC News and MSNBC as a legal analyst.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Dartmouth College and completed law school at Columbia University. She resides in Brooklyn with her two daughters and her partner.