Birdsong, Mia

Mia Birdsong

is a family and community visionary and storyteller 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In her current role as Co-Director of Family Story, she is updating this nation’s outdated picture of the family in America (hint: rarely 2.5 kids and two heterosexual parents living behind a white picket fence).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 where she worked to illuminate the ways in which marginalized people build and leverage family and community to move their lives forward.

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, and On Being, and she speaks at universities and conferences across the country.

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. Mia is a graduate of Oberlin College, an inaugural Ascend Fellow of The Aspen Institute, a New America California Fellow, and sits on the Board of Directors of Forward Together. She lives, dreams, and practices beekeeping in Oakland, CA.

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