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Malia Lazu ’99


It takes less than thirty seconds of meeting Malia Lazu to realize she is a woman with a mission to change the world. It is a huge task, but never shy to address an uncomfortable issue and seemingly endless energy, she may very well get it done.

Lazu, an Emerson graduate in ‘99, got her start with nonprofits and community outreach before she was even an upper classmen. During her sophomore year, she created MassVote, a program that still runs today. The nonprofit focused on educating young voters and encouraging them to go to the polls.

Lazu recalls a moment when she knew she was meant to be an activist: “City Hall refused to give me a permit to do a voter registration concert for young people. They didn’t want black people coming into the city; a feeling that still remains. They were overly racist and it pissed me off, so I started organizing.” Lazu took this denial and let it fuel her future endeavors. This, along with her degree in Political Communications and certificate in Public Relations, led her to Washington, D.C. with “the goal to be President of the United States.”

The ambitious Lazu says this goal was short-lived though. “I wanted to make a change,” she says, “but once I moved to D.C. I realized politics is no place to create change, regardless of what the election industry wants you to believe.” So, working outside the system, she has managed campaigns for Grammy Winner and Civil Rights Activist harry Belafonte, novelist Walker Mosley and Peter Lewis, philanthropist and Democratic Party donor.

Two years ago, when she returned to Boston to pursue a fellowship at MIT, Lazu also took up her current position as Executive Director of the Future Boston Alliance. Future Boston Alliance is a nonprofit that focuses on collective action to create change in Boston. She also continues to return to Emerson, occasionally teaching classes, including Communications, Grassroots Organizing, and Social Advocacy. When she teaches she is not only bringing her experience, but the passion that has brought her to be the Executive Director of one of Boston’s most involved nonprofits.

Between twenty years of activism, organizing and planning campaigns, and nonprofit work, Lazu has one overall message she wants to teach the youth of America and the world: “we can actually create the world we want to see, but we must reject the institutions that stop our evolution.” And for herself, Lazu hopes, “I am always fighting for justice, whatever I am actually doing.”



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