Inspiring Changemaker: AAMA Leader Earns National Recognition from the NFL
Summary: The Seattle Seahawks selected Dr. Mia Williams as their recipient of the National Football League’s (NFL) 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker Award.
The Seattle Seahawks selected Dr. Mia Williams as their recipient of the National Football League’s (NFL) 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker Award.
Inspire Change is the NFL’s social justice initiative dedicated to showcasing the collaborative efforts of clubs across the league to create positive change and foster a more inclusive and equitable culture for all. The NFL’s Inspire Change Changemaker awards recognize individuals who are making a difference in their communities through social justice work.
Dr. Williams is the Executive Director of the Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) for Seattle Public Schools. Launched in 2019, it focuses on the educational environment system in support of Black boys and teens. SPS is the first district in Washington state, and one of the few across the nation, to create an office that intentionally supports the cultural and academic strengths of African American male students while simultaneously addressing their needs.
“It really is about the babies who have given me their all by showing up for me all these years and helped me be able to support others,” Dr. Williams said. “I just want to thank all the families, the community, the Seahawks, our partners – everybody who’s helped make sure our babies get the things they need to be able to thrive … The best award is when they get to be their best selves.”
Dr. Williams learned about the award through a surprise announcement at a student recognition event in December in front of dozens of students and families whose lives she has helped change through initiatives from AAMA.
She was formally recognized on the field and in front of a national audience during the Seahawks game against Philadelphia on Dec. 18. She received a $10,000 grant courtesy of the NFL Foundation and two tickets to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas.
William King is a program coordinator for AAMA. He was thrilled when he heard his mentor would be recognized on the national level.
“Dr. Williams not only makes change, but she also embodies change,” King said. “A changemaker is a person who turns ideas into actions for the good of all. With tenacity and creativity, Dr. Williams’ actions have powerfully impacted social challenges for students and families for 30 years.”
King also said Dr. Williams’ commitment to listening, learning, and creating plans of action based on the recommendations of the community she serves has yielded positive outcomes that are still measurable today.
The Seahawks work closely with Dr. Williams and the programs and organizations she curated like Kingmakers of Seattle and WHOLE Mentoring. The Seahawks Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund donated $41,000 to Kingmakers in 2019. Additionally, WHOLE Mentoring was created out of Dr. Williams’ office. The Seahawks have partnered with them over the last few years to provide unique experiences to students such as the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Tour, corporate visits to partner offices like Microsoft, and device donations to 50-plus SPS students.
AAMA Mentoring Program Coordinator Kelvin Dankwa said Dr. Williams works tirelessly to see her community transformed.
“Her spirit of advocacy started far before her time as the executive director of AAMA, and her impact spans decades,” he said. “Even though she has a trophy case of acknowledgements and awards in her office, she has the heart of a humble servant and doesn’t aspire to be in the spotlight.
Dankwa went on to say Dr. Williams’ leadership instilled a confidence in him to continue this work.
“I’m one of the many that have had the pleasure of being under her tutelage. There’s no person more deserving of the 2023 NFL Changemaker Award.”
Dr. Williams has served in SPS for nearly three decades in multiple positions, earning her several accolades along the way. Before moving to the central office, Dr. Williams was the principal at Aki Kurose Middle School. In 2019, she was a recipient of the National Education Association’s Mary Hatwood Futrell Human and Civil Rights Award. In 2016, she was named Washington State Middle Level Principal of the Year. Dr. William was also a panelist at the White House’s Summit on the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. She is also the founding principal of Kingmakers of Seattle.