Maya D. Wiley is an American lawyer, professor and civil rights activist. Wiley served as counsel to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. She chaired the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) from 2016 to 2017. She has been an MSNBC legal analyst since August 2018.
Wiley is the senior vice president for social justice at The New School and a professor at the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment. She ran for the Democratic nomination in the 2021 New York City mayoral election.
Early life and education
Wiley was born on January 2, 1964, in Syracuse, New York, and raised in Washington, D.C. Her father was civil rights leader and academic George Wiley. Her mother, Wretha Frances (Whittle) Wiley, was white, and inspired her to focus on progressive issues. On August 8, 1973, Wiley's 42-year-old father fell overboard while sailing with Wiley and her older brother on his 23‐foot boat on Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. On August 12, 1973, his body was found floating in the bay off the shore of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, after a three-day search.
Wiley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Dartmouth College in 1986 and a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School.
Wiley served in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney Office for the Southern District of New York.
In 2013, Wiley was mentioned as a potential president of the NAACP, but the post went instead to Cornell William Brooks. Before being appointed counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014, she worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Open Society Institute.
Wiley spent two and a half years as counsel to de Blasio, during which time she became known for coining the term "agents of the city" in an attempt to prevent public disclosure of de Blasio's communications with lobbyists. She also founded and served as president of the Center for Social Inclusion, a national policy strategy organization dedicated to dismantling structural racism.
Wiley has taught at The New School and appeared on MSNBC as a political and legal analyst.
2021 NYC mayoral campaign
In October 2020, Wiley announced that she was running for mayor of New York City in the 2021 election. In June 2021, Wiley was endorsed by U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former presidential candidates Julian Castro and Elizabeth Warren.
Wiley is married to Harlan Mandel, CEO of the Media Development Investment Fund. They live in Brooklyn with their two daughters.