Long-time justice reform advocate Jay Jordan promoted to organization’s expanding leadership


April 4, 2019

Will Matthews, Californians for Safety and Justice, (909) 261-1398; will@safeandjust.org

OAKLAND, CA – Californians for Safety and Justice, the state’s leading criminal justice reform organization, announced today an expansion of leadership, naming Jay Jordan as its new Executive Director.

Jordan, 34, succeeds Lenore Anderson, Californians for Safety and Justice’s founding Executive Director, who will remain as the organization’s President. Robert Rooks, previously the Associate Director of Californians for Safety and Justice will assume the role of Vice President.

“We are thrilled to promote Jay into this key leadership position for our growing organization,” said Lenore Anderson, President of Californians for Safety and Justice and Alliance for Safety and Justice. “Jay is a remarkable leader with an extensive track record of success. We look forward to his leadership continuing to help California create the safe and healthy communities we all desire and deserve.”    

Jordan is an accomplished leader, who has worked at the intersection of community development, organizing, and social justice. He has received over 30 awards for his work in local communities, partnering with government leaders and organizations to prevent violence and support youth. For the past three years, he has served as the director of Californians for Safety and Justice’s Second Chances Project and Time Done campaign. He launched the organization’s Time Done campaign to remove the legal barriers people living with a past conviction face long after completing the terms of their conviction.  

“Jay Jordan is a galvanizing force and there is no one better to lead Californians for Safety and Justice into its next chapter,” said Robert Rooks, Vice President of Californians for Safety and Justice and Alliance for Safety and Justice. “He is a leader and strategist with an energy to inspire and motivate that is unparalleled.”

Prior to joining the Californians for Safety and Justice staff, Jordan worked at LA Voice PICO, where he was instrumental in recruiting and training churches in the South Los Angeles area. He also co-founded Faith in Action, a group of crime survivors in the Westmont area of Los Angeles working to transform their community by employing an asset-based community development strategy.

A native of Stockton, California, Jordan is the son of a pastor from the South and an engineer from Watts and is the youngest child in a family of eight. He created his own non-profit that focused on teen leadership and civic engagement, which drew upon his own experiences. 10 months after his 18th birthday, Jordan was convicted and sent to state prison where he served eight years. That experience resulted in a lifetime commitment to dedicate his life to community restoration upon release.

After his release, he immediately met with Police Chief Eric Jones, now-Mayor Michael Tubbs, and late community activist Willie Douglas. This led to him doing youth mentorship and community clean-up programs in his hometown of Stockton. Jordan launched an innovative youth organizing program, The First50, with the help of local public officials, community members and law enforcement. In its first 18 months, the program saw a 100 percent high school graduation rate and college enrollment.

Jordan’s 30 recognitions for his community work include honors as the American Red Cross’ Hero of the Year in 2014, recipient of the Literacy Foundations’ Innovative Library Concept Award, and Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding Youth Program.

“It is an incredible honor to be asked to lead an organization that has helped change lives and make a difference in communities across the state,” said Jordan. “I am humbled to take on this responsibility and follow such extraordinary leaders. I made a decision nearly 15 years ago to devote my life to underserved communities most impacted by crime, poverty and incarceration. I look forward to building upon the successes Californians for Safety and Justice has achieved in advancing a proactive vision for safe and healthy communities.”

The appointment is part of the organization developing and growing its leadership, particularly as it expands. Anderson and Rooks launched a national organization, Alliance for Safety and Justice, in 2016 to work on justice reform in other states. It replicates the pioneering work that was successful in California and is responsive to state differences. Anderson and Rooks are president and vice president, respectively, of Alliance for Safety and Justice and lead its expanding body of work. The innovative work to advance safety and justice in California will continue under Jordan’s day-to-day leadership and their strategic guidance.