Ayanna Najuma MCP

Host, What Lies Between Us

About this speaker

Ayanna Najuma’s life journey began at the age of seven when she participated in a sit-in at Katz Drug Store’s lunch counter in Oklahoma City, an event that preceded several years before the sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina. In February 2018, Scholastics’ Weekly Reader magazine featured Ayanna as the cover story, “Kids Fought for Change.” Over five million grade schoolers read about her commitment to make change and she received over 25,000 letters from students around the country who were interested in making a difference in the world. In 2019, Scholastics Storyworks published the play Ayanna the Brave. Ayanna traveled the country with Julia Clifford, documentary filmmaker of Children of the Civil Rights, sharing her story as a participant in the civil rights movement. She has launched I Have A Voice Now! a movement designed to empower and encourage children to utilize their own voice for equity and equality in society, as well as educate them on the importance of activism and advocacy.


Ayanna is a noted speaker, motivating and empowering people to take a second look at their lives, step outside themselves, and examine what is necessary and required to live a healthy and prosperous life. Whether speaking to healthcare professionals on the importance of eliminating systemic racism and healthcare disparities, writing about the impact of art and culture on the future and development of society, or hosting What Lies Between Us, a conversational platform on social justice, Ayanna has accepted the responsibility of utilizing the talent and skills she developed at George Washington and Howard Universities to empower others. She believes that knowledge is power, and when people arm themselves with knowledge, they are able to take action. 


Ayanna is a visionary who has developed an impressive range of creative skills. She launched her column, THE BEST IS RIGHT NOW! Honor It! Embrace It! Live It! ™, featured on Retirement LivingTV.com and in The Oklahoman. Her work as host and producer of Washington, DC’s WPFW’s radio talk show, Business World, allowed her the opportunity to touch the minds of many. For over thirty years, she has helped musicians, artists, authors, corporations, and nonprofits realize their goals. She has been featured in the magazines Essence, Heart and Soul, and Emerge, among many others.


Ayanna is recipient of The Trailblazer Award from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, and the Oklahoma Historical Society for her work in the civil rights movement. She has received the District of Columbia’s Juneteenth Book Festival Heart of Courage Award. In 2021, Ayanna received the Great Plains Journalism Award for her story on Covid 19.


The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Committee in Midwest City, Oklahoma, honored Ayanna as one of the original sit-inners in Oklahoma City. She was one of the recipients of the Woody Guthrie Center Changing World Prize. 


The League of Women Voters of Oklahoma selected Ayanna as one of “100 Oklahoma Women Trailblazers” in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Women in Oklahoma getting the right to vote. Ayanna was honored to be the opening speaker for the 2019 Oklahoma Women’s March. She has served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the MLK Day Celebration Ringing of the Bell Ceremony, speaking about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his impact on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Oklahoma City’s sit-in movement. In 2020, The Oklahoman featured Ayanna in its 21st Century Women “Outlook 2020” series.


Ayanna is a proud member of NAACP and Top Ladies of Distinction. She is a former national board member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the National Great Black in Wax Museum, the National Association of Washington, DC chapter of

The National Association of Women Business Owners.


Today, Ayanna continues to knock down the walls of inequity and inequality. Her contribution made a difference in creating change in Oklahoma City and the world.

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The Colonization of Hair

August 08, 2021, 01:05 AM
Ayanna Najuma