Jacinto Ramos, Jr.
Chair, Council of Urban Boards of Education,
Board President, Fort Worth Independent School District
Jacinto Ramos, Jr. is a national, state, and community leader. Ramos is the chair of the 2019-2020 Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) as well as the next president of the Mexican American School Boards Association. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).
The Mexican American School Boards Association (MASBA) is a voluntary, nonprofit, statewide education association that has served local Texas school boards since 1970. MASBA is focused on closing gaps in Texas public schools, particularly for the Latinx students who comprise the majority of students statewide.
Dr. Monique Morris
Founder and President, National Black Women’s Justice Institute
Monique W. Morris, Ed.D., is an author and social justice scholar with more than 20 years of professional and volunteer experience in the areas of education, civil rights, juvenile and social justice. Dr. Morris is the author of Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-First Century (The New Press, 2014), Too Beautiful for Words (MWM Books, 2012); and Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (The New Press, 2016), a forthcoming book on the criminalization of Black girls in schools. She has written dozens of articles, book chapters, and other publications on social justice issues and lectured widely on research, policies, and practices associated with improving juvenile justice, educational, and socioeconomic conditions for Black girls, women, and their families.
Morris is the co-founder and president of The National Black Women’s Justice Institute and a 2012 Soros Justice Fellow. She is a former lecturer for Saint Mary’s College of California and adjunct professor for the University of San Francisco. She is also the former vice president for economic programs, advocacy and research at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the former director of research for the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at the UC Berkeley Law School. Morris has also worked in partnership with and served as a consultant for state and county agencies, national academic and research institutions, and communities throughout the nation to develop comprehensive approaches and training curricula to eliminate racial/ethnic and gender disparities in the justice system. Her work in this area has informed the development and implementation of improved culturally competent and gender-responsive continuation of services for youth.
Christian Moore is an internationally renowned author, speaker, licensed clinical social worker, and advocate for at-risk youth. Coming from a blended family of 12 children, Moore spent most of his childhood years on the streets. In a neighborhood just outside of Washington, D.C., he was exposed to a wide array of social problems, which opened his eyes to the many injustices that exist in our world today.
By the time Christian had reached second grade, he had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, conduct disorder, and severe learning disabilities. Because of these setbacks, he often felt socially isolated in school. He spent time both as bully and victim; and often acted out to avoid answering the questions of teachers.
Due to his poor grades and learning disabilities, Moore was told by his high school counselors that college was not a viable option. But after graduation, an experience volunteer in the inner city gave him a drive to help others and a reason to try.
Moore found his passion in social work. In college, he developed what he called his "No F" game plan. By attending all his classes, sitting in the front row, building relationships with professors, completing all his assignments, and utilizing every resource available, Christian rose from a "troubled" special education student to a well-respected recipient of a master's degree in social work.
As a social worker in education, youth corrections, and a homeless program, Moore began to see the need for a new approach in reaching out to today's youth. Drawing from his personal challenges, his degree, his career, and his understanding of people from all walks of life, Moore created WhyTry.
Moore’s personal mission is to ensure that youth are given an opportunity to succeed, regardless of social or economic status, race, background, or other personal obstacles.
Dr. Cesar Cruz
Dean of Secondary Schools Program, Harvard University
Co-Founder, Homies Empowerment
From marching 76-straight miles, to hunger striking for 26 days, Cruz has dedicated his life to fighting for justice. He was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México and migrated to the U.S. at a young age with a single mother and grandmother. He grew up in South Central L.A. and moved to the Bay Area to study. Cruz graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in History. He has been an educator for 23 years, in positions of leadership for the last 17 years, most recently serving as the Dean of Secondary Schools Program at Harvard University. He co-founded the independent school, Making Changes, out of his home, and has sought to create autonomous education spaces.
For the last four years, Cruz has overseen the Homies Empowerment Program, serving gang impacted/involved youth in Oakland, CA. He is the author of two books, Revenge of the Illegal Alien, and Bang for Freedom. He received his doctorate in Educational Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, becoming the first Mexican immigrant male to do so. The recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service, Cruz currently serves as a Bridge Fellow for TNTP (The New Teacher Project), and is on the advisory board of the education policy organization Broader Bolder Approach to Education (BBA).