Community Spotlight: Celebrating Women’s History Month with Kim Ault


“The first time advocacy really formulated for me was when my cousins came from California. Similar to children here in Clarkston, we as kids didn’t realize we were so so close in age, but we still had to pick up responsibilities. Our grandparents and elders had to have late-night shifts, so I became a protector and advocate for them…

The Black American community around us didn’t realize that there were more Caribbean countries other than Jamaica… there was plenty of teasing and bullying over this, so my role of protector had to grow outside of the home.”

“Afterschool, we began going to the cadets. They would take underserved or at-risk children; our dues were only a quarter so i was able to cover myself and cousins. I would pledge myself to build a better life, a life patterned after GOD...

There, I was apart of the color guard. We used to have to be the hot sun for hours on end; I attribute a lot of my discipline to these days in the cadets.”


Kim expressed that from a young age, she felt like she was the one who had to be the negotiator or the one that had to protect, even when that would get her into trouble. Now, she can look back and know that was Good Trouble to be apart of.


“I know how I wanted others to step in and speak up for me, so this led to me doing the same for others.”


After putting herself into overdrive to graduate, she credits her Music Instructor Ms. Buchannan at LaGuardia High School of the Arts as who helped guide her into college.

It was here at Hunter College that she experienced more freedom than she had ever had in her life, although that didn’t stop her heart in advocacy… or her grandmother expecting her to answer the phone. “If the payphone ever rang and I didn’t answer, I would be in trouble with my grandmother at home.”

Singing always has held a sincere place in her heart, this at one time led to her and a neighborhood girl group singing at The Apollo. No matter where her path took her though, her route found her back in advocacy.

This included advocating for fair tuition at the university’s President’s office, as well as being in front of the school’s Board of Trustees. On a national scale, she was the New York Youth Coordinator for the Million Man March in DC.


Kim’s road to advocacy in DeKalb County again began in her home, with her daughter becoming a student. Alongside issues she saw personally, she realized that the communities immigrating to Clarkston needed to have a voice as well.

Kim saw a lot of herself in the teens that were immigrating to Clarkston, having to form groups to protect themselves before and after school. Kim, alongside her neighbor Virginia Dire, formed a neighbor watch group to protect all that stands to this day.

"I would not always be in the right room, but I knew the right questions, and that would lead me to getting in contact with those who responsible for the change needed."

In 2011, she was interviewed and selected as a Community Organizing Fellow for Commonplace USA. This led to training at Harvard University, and supporting Jeremy Lewis' bid for Clarkston to be a site for Commonplace USA's expansion, which was achieved.

Still, she always had an identity for Education Advocacy, leading to a 2014 bid for DeKalb County School Board.

"The purpose for me running was to have a Shirley Anita Chisolm campaign... Knowing I might not win, but giving a platform to speak on the community, knowing what is there for the community... wanting the community to understand that you are enough. We can speak for ourselves, our voices matter... One of my policy points, Restorative Discipline over a Zero Tolerance stance became implemented. I am really proud of that."

Today, she continues her walk of advocacy for all, balancing always being a student, while embracing a place of leadership as well.

"I can learn from the youngest of us, of our peers, our elders... take the best and let that be part of me... It doesn't matter if we have these proclamations on paper, unless we are lifting them up and activating them in the community."

Her priority is to work herself out of any position she is in, while ensuring that someone after her is empowered to accept the moment; to know that they are enough.