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Maryum  Ali

Maryum Ali

Social Worker, Activist & Author

Biography

Maryum Ali, affectionately known as May May, was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and is the eldest child of boxing legend 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.” Maryum’s efforts to help people have manifested in a myriad of ways throughout her life.  Read More >

She performed as a stand-up comedian for twelve years in venues across the country filling rooms with humor and insightful observations of social issues. As a regular performer at The Comedy Store in Hollywood, she worked alongside talents such as Jim Carey, Chris Rock, and Martin Lawrence. During that same time, she was also writing rap lyrics with plans of publishing her music.

In 1992, May May’s rap album, “The Introduction,” was released by Scottie Brother’s Records. She viewed music as a way to inspire youth to strive for their dreams despite challenges and hardships. But when the rap industry began focusing on music filled with violence and female exploitation, Maryum decided to find a more direct way of helping young people. Hence, she left show business and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. Degree in Social Work. While in college, Maryum worked as a trained Mediator for Clark County Social Services, Neighborhood Justice Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Maryum has 15 years of experience in juvenile delinquency prevention and youth development, working with over three hundred youth and their families. She has served as a Director of gang prevention programs and as a Regional Manager for the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development in the City of Los Angeles. She is currently seeking private funding for the non-profit organization, DMTL, a gang prevention and youth development program that she co-founded with Nason Buchanan.

Maryum is the author of a children’s picture book about her father titled, I Shook Up the World: The Incredible Life of Muhammad Ali. She is also a spokesperson for Team Parkinson and The Parkinson’s Unity Walk.  Over the years, Maryum has appeared on television networks such as, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, ESPN, BBC, AL Jazeera, BBC, FOX, BET, Centric, Lifetime, and the Hallmark Channel.

More recently, A&E Network heard Maryum’s gang prevention work in Los Angeles and invited her to participate in their new docuseries, 60 Days In that premiered in March 2016. On this show, Maryum served 60 days in an Indiana jail as an undercover inmate with the mission of giving the County Sheriff recommendations on ways to reform the jail. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Muhammad Ali Memorial

Helping Kids Find Paths to Great Futures

Speech Topics

Parkinson's Disease: How It Affected My Father & Family

Muhammad Ali was in his late thirties when he and his family began to notice some symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Being only in his thirties, doctors thought it was just the normal "punch drunkenness" that a lot of boxers get. As a result, her father was misdiagnosed for almost 10 years. Read More >

As an advocate for Parkinson’s disease (PD) awareness and research, Maryum tells a personal story about how her father dealt with Parkinson's and her family's experience, beginning with his symptoms in the early days to his eventual diagnosis. Since symptoms vary, Ali educates audiences about the importance of seeing the right doctors when you know something doesn't feel right and the things you can do to live as normal of a life as possible, if diagnosed. Her inspirational and informative talk includes a visual presentation with photos of various aspects of Muhammad Ali's journey with PD. Topics include:  Read Less ^

  • Ali Before PD
  • Family Involvement                         
  • The Symptoms
  • The Impact of Optimism
  • Misdiagnosis & PD Diagnosis
  • Improving Quality of Life    
  • Challenges & Overcoming Challenges
  • The Importance of PD Research

My Journey Working with At-Risk Populations

Maryum is a Social Worker with fifteen years of experience in juvenile delinquency prevention and youth development, working with over three hundred youth and their families. She has served as a Director of gang prevention programs and as a Regional Manager for the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development in the City of Los Angeles. Read More >

Maryum shares thought-provoking stories about her passion for working with people impacted by institutional disparities, high rates of violence and other social issues. She talks about the ups and downs experienced in this field and how to overcome challenges. Maryum shares some of the best practices in being a collaborative partner with clients as they are on paths to understanding the greatness that lies within them. She also talks about how her father's influenced her decision to become a Social Worker.  Read Less ^

The Life & Legacy of Muhammad Ali: A Daughter's Perspective

Maryum gives a daughter's perspective on the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali as well as the lessons that can be learned from a champion boxer, civil rights activist, humanitarian and man of faith. She offers an I AM ALI documentary film screening and Q&A session as part of this keynote. I AM ALI is an intimate and heart-warming look at the man behind the legend, as we've never seen Ali before. This inspirational story is told through exclusive, unprecedented access to Ali's personal archive of audio journals combined with touching interviews and testimonials from his inner circle of family and friends.