Mia Birdsong is a family visionary who has spent more than 20 years fighting for the self-determination and pointing out the brilliant adaptations of everyday people. In her current role as Co-Director of Family Story, she is updating this nation’s outdated picture of the family in America (hint: rarely 2.5 kids and two heterosexual parents living behind a white picket fence). Prior to launching Family Story, Mia was the Vice President of the Family Independence Initiative (FII), an organization that leverages the power of data and stories to illuminate and accelerate the initiative low-income families take to improve their lives.
Mia, whose 2015 TED talk “The Story We Tell About Poverty Isn’t True” has been viewed over 1.5 million times already, has been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Slate, Salon, the Pacific Standard, and On Being, and she speaks at universities and conferences across the country. She co-founded Canerow, a resource for people dedicated to raising children of color in a world that reflects the spectrum of who they are. Mia is also modern Renaissance woman. She has spent time organizing to abolish prisons, teaching teenagers about sex and drugs, interviewing literary luminaries like Edwidge Danticat, David Foster Wallace, and John Irving, and attending births as a midwifery apprentice. These are some of the many reasons that Mia was recognized as one of Colorlines‘ “15 Remarkable Women of Color Who Rocked 2015.”
Mia is a graduate of Oberlin College, an inaugural Ascend Fellow of The Aspen Institute, and a New America California Fellow. She sits on the Board of Directors of Forward Together and the North Oakland Community Charter School.