Advocacy & Education: Malik Mitchell of The Aurora Center

Malik Mitchell: the man, the myth, the new Men’s Engagement Coordinator for The Aurora Center (TAC) at the University of Minnesota. I was lucky enough to grab some time with Malik to sit down and discuss his new role at TAC, his dog, and (pretty much) his life.

Let’s talk about academia.

Malik has bachelor’s degrees from Hamline University in Public Health Sciences and Social Justice with concentrations in marginalized and politically disadvantaged populations. “I did a lot of research on folks who were incarcerated, LGBT communities, kids, the elderly, racial minorities and religious minorities in the United States.” Near the end of his academic career, he focused on how many of these communities experienced violence and resisted violence. “I found violence in places people wouldn’t normally look for it.” He highlighted the violence we normally consider, physical or even verbal abuse, but also went on to explain lack of access as a type of violence against a certain community, such as equal healthcare access for trans folks.

Where are you from?

Brooklyn, New York. “I’m still not used to ‘Minnesota weather’ and Minnesota culture. That was a shock. The Twin Cities together still feels like it’s just not a big enough city for me.” Between complaints about our public transit system, he mentioned what brought him from the East Coast to the Midwest. “My oldest sister came here first… My family is Jamaican and she had known a lot of Jamaicans that had come here. We all followed her and got stuck. The good type of stuck. It’s not a bad place to be.”

I heard you’re new to The Aurora Center here on campus. What do you do there?

Malik has a list of goals for his position as the Men’s Engagement Coordinator for The Aurora Center:

  1. Support male victim/survivors of sexual assault

  2. Expand the definition of masculinity

  3. Encourage peer-to-peer accountability

  4. Bring awareness to the issue of sexual violence.

“When we use the term ‘gender based violence’ men seem to fall off the map. Bringing this back into the conversation and engaging men as agents for change is very important. Women have long been the advocates for men and boys.”

You are very well educated in these fields. What are your future aspirations in your career?

Malik would like to work in Public Health, specifically in Holistic Health Disparities. Health disparities are any gaps in services that limits access to healthcare for various communities: A very essential field in this day and age.

I also heard you have a dog…

Nina’s very food motivated and loves people, he said. “When I was going through the dog adoption process, her foster parents said she was very food motivated. Same.” After Nina finishes obedience school, Malik plans to have her certified as a therapy dog.

Do you have a favorite joke or quote?

“I have a very dry humor so I don’t really make jokes. I like to say outrageous things very matter of fact. I’ll say dramatic things in a monotone voice.” His favorite quote, by Maya Angelou, is very fitting with the work that he does.

“Still I rise.”