Ian “Jahiti” Smith is a community activist, musician, teacher, and youth advocate who is committed to helping build stronger communities and fostering real change in Wilmington.
Since his arrival in Wilmington, Ian has been involved in criminal justice reform and works with the most at-risk youth. Ian also serves as a founding member of Innocence Delaware, which works to exonerate the wrongfully accused.
His work within social justice has brought about real change at the individual, community, City, and State level. Currently, Ian is the Director of Delaware’s Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), an organization that provides re-entry support to juveniles returning to the community from Delaware’s secure placement facilities. Under his leadership, since 2016, the program has grown to a staff of 16 advocates serving over 150 youth versus 2 advocates serving 2 youth at the time he took over the program. Through his efforts, a grant was awarded to YAP through the Criminal Justice Council allowing his work to expand to at-risk youth in elementary schools. He recently began a partnership with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Johns Hopkins and the Urban Institute, working with low-income youth participating in the Youth Employment Study. Ian serves passionately as the elected Vice-President of the Browntown Civic Association. In addition to his professional work, Ian has donated his time and musical talents to numerous community organizations geared towards strengthening the City of Wilmington.
His passion for serving began in college. After receiving his degree in Social Science with a minor in Political Science, from Coppin State University, Ian began volunteering for various communities and national organizations, such as the Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, where he learned the fundamentals of community organizing, grassroots planning, fundraising, and civic leadership.
As a recognized activist in Baltimore, Ian was acknowledged by then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and current City Council President Brandon Scott for his work with the 300 Men Movement, an elite male, volunteer unit which conducted violence deterrence walkthroughs in targeted high-crime neighborhoods.
Throughout his career, Ian has been a key influencer, building relationships with individuals and community organizations in order to generate meaningful resources for families and neighborhoods. He will bring that same drive, integrity, and commitment to his role as your City Councilman.
It is because of his decades of experience, hands-on work with the most vulnerable individuals and families, and dedication to various community organizations that Ian is confident in his ability to affect meaningful change as the next Councilman for the Sixth District.
Ian and his wife live in Browntown with their two miniature poodles, Ming and Charlie, and are loving godparents to their 5 godchildren, nieces and nephews.