Malik Ahmed will develop the theme, “Where Do We Go From Here?”, an address delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967. His presentation will examine how today’s African American community is still challenged by many of the same menacing forces that were highlighted by Dr. King over 38 years ago.

Mr. Ahmed will highlight the inequality that persists in keeping many members of the African American community oppressed, evidenced by rising health costs, unemployment, poor education and racist institutional practices. He will conclude his address by urging the need for the continuation of the civil rights struggle. In Mr. Ahmed’s opinion, the new focus of the movement should be on the internal development of the African American family. Mr. Ahmed passionately believes the organization he founded in 1983 – Better Family Life, Inc. – offers a new and progressive initiative in the goal of uplifting the Black masses. BFL’s job training program for the chronically unemployed has graduated over 2,000 adults and has a 12-month job retention rate of 80%. The program received the Governor’s Award for the Most Innovative Training/Workforce Program in 2000 and the Cultural Competency Award in 2001, both from the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council of Governments. In 2002, BFL opened its third job training site. Under Mr. Ahmed’s leadership, BFL has developed youth, cultural arts and housing down payment assistance programs to serve low to moderate income residents throughout the metropolitan community. In 2005, BFL purchased the former Ralph Waldo Emerson School in St. Louis. The organization is currently in a capital campaign to raise $4 million for renovating the site as a cultural center and museum.

Malik Ahmed holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Public Administration/Policy Analysis. Prior to his involvement with BFL, he was a registered representative of The Moneta Group, a financial planning firm. He serves on several community and civic boards of directors.