Dedicated public servant, assertive and pragmatic leader with a diversified skill set in community organizing, activism and civic engagement, Pious is the founding Director of Portland based Portland Empowered a program that creates opportunities for Students and families to engage their school and work with them to create an equitable learning environment through Racial Equity Lense.
He’s worked as Youth and Community Engagement Specialist at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service ‘s (Portland Empowered) and has spent the better part of his career focused on community engagement. He has created a meaningful and ongoing dialogue across cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, and faith-based barriers.
Prior to joining the Muskie School, Pious worked with the city of Portland’s refugee services and spent many summers working as a facilitator for Seeds of Peace, a summer program which builds relationships and leadership skills among youth from regions of conflict. He also worked as a site coordinator for the Peer Leader Program at what is now the Opportunity Alliance in Portland, Maine, and as an Education and Community Engagement Coordinator at the Portland branch of the NAACP.
Mr. Ali is the first African-born Muslim American to be elected to a public office in Maine, becoming a member of the city’s elected Board of Public Education in 2013. He also founded the erstwhile Maine Interfaith Youth Alliance and Co-founded the King Fellows, a Portland-based youth group dedicated to creating meaningful opportunities for youth through leadership and civic engagement based on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mr. Ali is an alumnus of the Institute for Civic Leadership (known as Lift360), and in 2015 he was named Lift360’s Most Distinguished Alumnus. He’s received other recognition for his work including the Gerda Haas Award for Excellence in Holocaust and Human Rights Education & Leadership in 2017 by Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, and The Watering Can award in 2019 from Maine Initiatives. Pious has served and continues to serve on many advisory groups and boards of directors, including Rippleffect, YMCA of Southern Maine, Greater Portland METRO, and the Greater Portland Council of Governments
A native of Ghana, Pious worked as a photojournalist for a range of print publications. He migrated to the United States of America, first to New York City, and has called Maine his home since 2002 where he lives with his two children.