Current City: New York, NY
Number of Kids: 1
Mommynoire: How did you get to where you are now in your life and career?
Tamika Mallory: For me, activism was all in the family. My parents were founding members of Reverend Al Sharpton’s organization National Action Network (NAN), and they had me marching and rallying from a really young age. I become the youngest staff member of National Action Network at 15 and worked at the organization for 14 years, serving as the Executive Director for the last four of those years. Currently, I am the founder and principal of Mallory Consulting where I work with a range of clients that I truly believe in. A triumph I recently encountered was with Justice League NYC just this past April. I was honored to work with the organization and to join Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour in leading nearly 100 Justice Champions on a 250 journey from New York City to Washington DC in support of a Justice Package capable of legislatively addressing the crisis of police violence, racial profiling and mass incarceration. We walked through 5 states and upon arriving in DC spoke alongside Congressman John Lewis and stood with Congressman Conyers as he introduced the End Racial Profiling Act of 2015. Real triumph will come when our communities receive adequate funding and justice is served to the victims of police violence. Truly, experiencing community and building with so many people is something I am grateful to have done.
Mommynoire: What were some of the challenges and triumphs that you encountered?
Tamika Mallory: As far as challenges go, I have a 16 year-old son and motherhood certainly comes with its set of challenges. One I didn’t expect was losing his father to gun violence. He was murdered shortly after my son’s 2nd Birthday. He was left in a ditch for two weeks before he was found and the devastation that comes with experiencing something like that is difficult to put into words. As much as I had been raised in activism, experiencing gun violence in my own life made the work personal. Ultimately, it was a pivotal moment in my life and a catalyst that put me on the path of being an anti-violence activist. When I talk about gun violence, whether it’s gun violence in our communities or police violence, I do it as someone who has been impacted by it and who is dedicated to preventing others from experiencing what I’ve experienced.
Mommynoire: What’s the best advice you’ve been given through the years?
Tamika Mallory:The best piece of advice I’ve been given has come to me in many variations, but most memorably from my mentor Cathy Hughes. Cathy is an incredible woman who founded Radio One and she always told me to keep going, to push through whatever obstacles and challenges I faced. She’d remind me that regardless of what I could be faced with, nothing was the end of the world. That advice has continued to resonate with me and it’s something I remind myself of when times get hard. Sure enough, the challenges I’ve faced have made me stronger, life goes on, and as a result of overcoming them I feel better equipped to tackle new challenges and explore different aspects of life.
Mommynoire: What advice do you like to give to women that are looking to craft a career they love?
Tamika Mallory: The biggest piece of advice I’d give to women looking to craft a career they love is this:
Learn not to take the challenges that you come across personally.
This has been a hard lesson to learn but the truth is that sometimes it’s not about you. It’s easy to see evidence of drama or obstacles as some sort of referendum on yourself, or something that you need to fix, but it’s an exhausting way to live. Ultimately, if you take everything personally then you’re going to spend a lot of time feeling awful and distracted. The best thing you can do is to focus on your purpose and to focus on identifying how your actions might change someone else’s life or impact the world. Let the other stuff slide. That said, and this is the tricky part, don’t allow yourself to get taken advantage of either. My mother used to tell me “don’t be anyone’s doormat”. She used to say that daily and while she was typically talking about boys, as I get older I find this advice resonating in so many spaces. Protect yourself, but don’t take it personally. You can do anything, and go anywhere if you trust yourself and let the rest fall into place.