Damon HewittActing President and Executive Director/Executive Vice President
Damon T. Hewitt is Acting President and Executive Director/Executive Vice President of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where he is responsible for coordinating the intersection of the organization’s strategic, programmatic, and operational efforts to advance the fight for racial justice. As the top deputy to the president and executive director, his work reflects a unique portfolio, including oversight of the organization’s programs on Election Protection, the 2020 Census, and its James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate, as well as the Development, Operations, and Human Resources departments.
Hewitt brings to the Lawyers’ Committee a 20-year track record of professional and managerial experience in the non-profit, philanthropic, and public sectors. He has worked as a civil rights lawyer, social justice strategist, philanthropist, and coalition-builder.
Prior to joining the Lawyers’ Committee, Hewitt was the inaugural executive director of the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color—a philanthropic network of more than three dozen national and local foundation presidents focused on shifting policies, structures, and the false narratives that negatively impact our nation’s sons and brothers. Through his leadership, the Alliance helped incubate, coordinate, and launch more than $200 million in collaborative grantmaking efforts on issues ranging from police accountability to college completion. He was also the chief liaison from the philanthropic community to the White House on policy issues impacting young men of color.
Hewitt previously worked as a Senior Advisor at the Open Society Foundations, where he coordinated special projects, including philanthropic responses to the uprisings following police killings of unarmed Black people in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland.
He worked for more than a decade as an attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he was lead counsel on a variety of litigation and policy matters and supervised teams of lawyers and policy experts. He led the organization’s Education Practice Group and pioneered its efforts to address the School to Prison Pipeline. He also coordinated organization-wide litigation and advocacy efforts in response to Hurricane Katrina, establishing a satellite office in his hometown of New Orleans. In this capacity, he developed advocacy efforts on education, policing, and fair housing. One of his most important cases, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center v. US. Department of Housing and Urban Development, yielded nearly $500M in new relief for Louisiana homeowners.
Hewitt also served as executive director of the New York Task Force on Police-on-Police Shootings, an entity created to analyze police practices after off-duty African American and Latino police officers were killed by fellow officers after being mistaken for “criminal” suspects.
Hewitt is co‐author of a book, The School‐to‐Prison Pipeline: Structuring Legal Reform, and has published numerous law review and mass media articles on issues ranging from school discipline policy and progressive education reform to voting rights and juvenile justice policy. Hewitt holds a B.A. in Political Science from Louisiana State University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Eric L. Clay on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He currently resides in suburban Maryland where he and his partner are raising their three young children to take on the next generation’s racial justice work.