Maryum Ali, the oldest daughter of the inimitable Muhammad Ali, has always been invested in helping others. And by “helping,” she often means “listening.” Ali has a gift for meeting people where they are and building community through authentic relationship. Her career has included an original album of progressive rap music and works as a comedian. Ali has a keen gift for insight and understanding human nature. Later, as a social worker, she worked in vulnerable neighborhoods in Los Angeles, including with youth and in gang prevention.
In this episode of In Times Like These, Ali helps us understand why humility, a love of learning, and a sense of care for others—no matter who they are—are key ingredients for bringing about positive social change.
Ways to listen to this episode:
In this episode, we discuss:
- Why humility is a key ingredient for communication
- How empathy and understanding build relationships with at-risk clients and communities
- What to do when you’re working in a system that’s set up to failHow feeling “superior” sabotages all of your well-intended work
- “I’m as comfortable at the White House as I am in South Los Angeles.”
Maryum Ali’s life experience has given her the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. As a young girl, she learned the value of humility and really caring about people. Ali shares with us why someone’s wealth or power don’t really matter—everyone has a need, everyone experiences pain, and when you’re working with others, how you treat them is the most important piece of expertise.I’m as comfortable at the White House as I am in South Los Angeles. Listen now: Click To Tweet
2. “Start with listening, not your to-do list.”
Many of us feel that we are equipped to lead communities because we have expertise, academic degrees, or specialized training. Ali reminds us that when we come into a conversation with an agenda, we are already trying to control the other person. Dialogue requires the ability to listen without preconceived ideas or judgment.Start with listening, not your to-do list.” Listen now: Click To Tweet
3. “The key is having the humility to know that you don’t know it all.”
Maryum Ali is a life-long learner. Through every turn in her career, and in every new context, she’s sought to gain experiences that can help her help others. In this episode, she helps us see that our expertise and accomplishments are often a block to creating positive social change. If we think we’ve got it figured out, we’re less likely to connect and really try to understand others’ perspectives. Collaboration requires humility and real sharing.The key is having the humility to know that you don’t know it all. Listen now: Click To Tweet
Mentioned on the episode:
- DMTL Family Foundation: http://www.dmtlfamily.org/
- People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts by Robert Bolton: https://www.amazon.com/People-Skills-Yourself-Resolve-Conflicts/dp/067162248X
- May May Ali’s “The Introduction” https://www.discogs.com/May-May-The-Introduction/master/347992
- Ali has 15 years of experience in delinquency prevention and family development and has worked in many capacities in this field; from having direct practice experience with over 300 families to working as a Regional Manager for the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development in the City of Los Angeles. https://www.lagryd.org/
- She is also the author of a children’s picture book about her father titled, I Shook Up the World: The Incredible Life of Muhammad Ali. https://www.amazon.com/Shook-Up-World-Incredible-Muhammad/dp/0836840984
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About the Podcast
In Times Like These explores the difficult spaces we humans navigate in culture and religion, in dialogue and doubt. We talk to voices from the field, in law, activism, civil rights, and from places of struggle and places of deep learning. In Times Like These, we unpack the most troubling issues of politics and faith we face, together.
In Times Like These is hosted by Dr. Stephanie Varnon-Hughes and is a CLU Live production by Claremont Lincoln University.
Claremont Lincoln University offers socially conscious master’s degree programs in organizational development, public administration, human resources management, healthcare management, higher educational, and social change.