Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute 2019
Maria Elena Morales is a formerly incarcerated leader who began her journey in the Coachella Valley and established herself in San Diego in 2011. While attending San Diego City College, Maria Elena used her personal experience with the criminal justice system to empower individuals from previously incarcerated and marginalized groups; by providing resources and giving sound to their voices. Since she began attending community college she has created opportunities to lead and co-establish student organizations such as the Urban Scholars Union and the Social Justice Coalition, organizations committed to increasing equity for individuals regardless of background. In the community, she has been active with the American Federation of Teachers Guild Local 1931. Maria Elena has participated as a Fellow for Students for Economic Justice and has always looked for new ways to expose the campus culture while working for SDCC to events like the first annual Women of Color in Leadership forum, Social Justice and Education Conference, and City Women Rock. Maria Elena is also a 2016 “Leading with Conviction” Fellow with Just Leadership USA’s national leadership training program. She was also appointed to the California Advisory Board for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Maria Elena is currently working at the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties where she is focused on centering the leadership of formerly incarcerated0 people.