Hasan Davis

2019 NJJA Keynote Speaker

For more than 25 years, Hasan has held to the belief that each child can and will succeed as long as adults in their world create hope. Starting as a counselor and a teaching artist, and through his years as a youth development specialist, Hasan has transformed the attitudes and strategies of school and facility staff, parents, and members of the community to help hundreds of children graduate from high school and go on to earn degrees from colleges and universities.

He brings to the process a powerful combination of passion, caring, and leadership to craft a refreshing, common-sense roadmap to help all youth achieve their dreams, no matter the odds.

“I was a tough kid. Growing up in inner-city Atlanta in the 1970s and ’80s, I had to be. My teachers didn’t know what to do with me, so they just ignored me. The more they ignored me, the madder I got, and the anger just built on itself. After my 7th-grade year, I was put in an alternative school, which I was expelled from in my senior year before anyone discovered that I suffered from dyslexia and attention deficit disorder.

“By that time, I had joined a street gang. When others looked at me, they saw a menace to society. I grew up angry and in conflict because I didn’t think there was a reason to be in school and learn. I thought it was all a setup.”

But Hasan persisted to receieve his GED. “This was a crossroads for me. I was still struggling, but I really wanted to make it. And for the first time ever, I believed it was possible.”

Today, Hasan has a college degree and a law degree. He has served as Commissioner of Juvenile Justice for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He has been internationally recognized as a speaker, educator, and advocate for youth.

He travels the country to help young people and adults find their voice, personal power, sense of self-respect, and dignity. And he uses his passion for theater to help others connect with historical African-American figures.