Leadership

Ernest Saadiq Morris, Esq. is director of Urban Youth Justice Initiative (Urban Youth Justice), a self-funded not-for-profit public education and advocacy initiative that he created to focus on the advancement and protection of equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity of African-American youth, and similarly disadvantaged urban area youth (e.g., students with Special Needs and immigrant and English Learner students) through public education by youth & community outreach and advocacy.

Ernest Saadiq Morris is an expert on school-to-prison pipeline issues and passionate advocate on the intersection of racial justice, critical race theory, and critical youth theory. His cutting-edge youth rights commentary and policy analysis advances critical thought on the law and policy affecting disadvantaged urban youth.

As a youth and civil rights attorney, his multiple defeats of the school-to-prison pipeline began in 2004. He has prevented emergency expulsions, suspensions and coordinated the largest successful mass student defense campaign to date (of over 100 mostly Hispanic students in Round Rock, Texas from 2006-2007) from school discipline and criminal prosecutions for a youth-led organized protest during school hours.

As a featured speaker and panelist in schools and at youth organization events (e.g., the Texas NAACP Convention, Las Vegas National Hip Hop Political Convention, Hip Hop Congress, and Texas Junior Statesman of America), Ernest Saadiq Morris presents dynamic social justice empowerment workshops and seminars to many diverse student audiences (junior high to college) in Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, Austin and Los Angeles.

Ernest Saadiq Morris has also developed comprehensive formal education and training programs for schools (students and staff) on creating a classroom to school-wide culture of diversity and inclusion, including peer-based restorative justice; and youth leadership and empowerment skills training for self-advocacy.

A 1999 graduate of Howard University School of Law, Ernest clerked for the late Honorable Franklin D. Burgess, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Washington. Ernest is also co-chair of the Education Civil Rights subcommittee of the American Bar Association Children’s Rights Litigation Committee..

Some of the community education and empowerment activities for youth and their communities that Mr. Morris has provided over the years:

  • Presenter, HOSTILE LESSONS: School-Based Implicit Bias Isolates & Targets Youth of Color for Failure by Devaluing their Identity, Family and Community, Seattle Race Conference Oct 2015 
  • Presenter, Still Not Post-Racial: Racial Justice as an Educational Right for All Students, 10th Annual Seattle Race Conference August 2013
  • Presenter, Promising Legal Strategies to Break the School-to-Prison Pipeline, ABA National Conference on Children & the Law, Washington, DC   July 2013
  • Presenter, Empowering Students of Color for Future Success and Leadership –  School’s Out Washington Bridge Conference, Seattle, WA  Oct 2012
  • Facilitator, Addressing Disproportionality in Juvenile Justice through Strategies to Dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline workshopJuvenile Defender Leadership Summit, Seattle, WA   July 2012
  • Presenter,  The School to Prison Pipeline Legacy – Youth & Law Conference, Seattle, WA  Apr 2012
  • Presenter, The State of Equity in After-School/Out-of-School: How Extended Learning Opportunity Meets Diverse Student Needs – BOOST Conference, Palm Springs, CA     April 2012
  • Presenter,  Special Education Warehousing: Assigning Students of Color to Separate and Unequal Academic Opportunity, Expectations and Outcomes – Portland Public Schools,  Portland, OR   Feb 2012
  • Presenter, Surviving the Police: Youth Profiling –  Hip Hop Leadership Conference, Seattle, WA    Feb 2012
  • Presenter, School to Prison Pipeline explained, Hip Hop Congress Teach-in – Southwest College, Los Angeles, CA    Dec 2010
  • Presenter, What can Brown v. Board do for you? – Open Meadows School, Portland(OR)      May 2010
  • Presenter, Speaking Youth to Power – National Hip Hop Political Convention, Las Vegas     July 2008
  • Minority Youth Sponsor – Nation/Campus Progress West Coast Youth Journalism Conference  – UCLA, Los Angeles, CA      Jan 2008
  • Presenter, Students, Know Your Rights Workshop(s) – Austin(Tx) ISD, Round Rock (Tx) ISD      2006-07
  • Presenter, Police Misconduct Roundtable – NAACP of Texas Annual Convention, Austin, TX   Oct 2006
  • Presenter, E Pluribus Unum? Social Justice Panel – Texas Junior Statesman of America Fall Convention    Austin, TX   Nov 2006

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