Ayanna Polk is a champion for youth activism and civic engagement. She comes to Boston by way of Atlantic City, New Jersey, demonstrating a long-standing commitment as a community leader. Her life as an activist began as the NAACP College Chapter President for Stockton University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Literature with a specialization in Digital Literacy.
In her ten years of local and state leadership within the New Jersey State Conference NAACP (“NJSCNAACP”), Ayanna has always advocated for intergenerational involvement in policy changes concerning education, health, voter empowerment, and criminal justice. During her tenure as the NJSCNAACP Youth Works Chair, she diligently worked with adult branches, college chapters and youth units to organize Get-Out-The-Vote (“GOTV”) efforts across the state. Ayanna is a creator of the “My Voice, My Vote” voter education series, which focuses on first-time voters and high school students who are close to voting age. Its purpose is to empower young voters to make informed decisions at the ballot box and learn how to be an active citizen past Election Day. Ayanna is wrapping up this year as a 2018 NAACP NextGen fellow. As a member of the inaugural class, she has worked to support the organization’s national GOTV strategy, community engagement efforts, and internal development of other young leaders within the organization. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
These experiences also cultivated Ayanna’s passion for creating a more diverse environment in higher education. Ayanna currently serves as the Graduate Program Coordinator within the Department of Public Policy and Public Administration for the University of Massachusetts’ McCormack Graduate School. She looks forward to furthering her message of activism with her mantra, “Being an activist means you are an active part of the solution, no matter how big or small. Equity is not a spectator sport.”