Ryan Haygood

President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

Ryan P. Haygood is the President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. For more than a decade, Haygood has been engaged in social justice advocacy on a national level. Previously, as the Deputy Director of Litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) Haygood worked to empower communities of color around the country by ensuring an open and inclusive political process, better educational and housing opportunities, access to employment that enables community residents to compete in a global economy, and a fair criminal justice system.

A proud resident of Newark, New Jersey’s South Ward, Haygood came to Newark fifteen years ago from Denver, Colorado, where his single mother raised him. Since then, he has been deeply invested in his community, mentoring hundreds of young people through Newark’s C.H.O.S.E.N., a teen youth group that he leads with his wife, Charity Haygood, a principal at a Newark public school.

At LDF, Ryan litigated some of the most important civil rights cases of our time, including twice defending the constitutionality of a core provision of the federal Voting Rights Act before the United States Supreme Court.

A passionate advocate, Ryan speaks and writes regularly on issues concerning race, law, civil rights, and democracy. He is frequently interviewed by numerous media outlets, including MSNBC, CNN, National Public Radio, and the New York Times.

Ryan received his J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law and B.A. in American History and Political Science cum laude from Colorado College, where he was nominated for the Rhodes scholarship and earned academic and athletic All-American honors as a football player.