Norris Henderson is the founder and Executive Director of Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), a nonprofit organization designed to educate, organize and mobilize formerly incarcerated persons around their right to vote in Louisiana. He is a former Soros Justice Fellow and was co-director of Safe Streets/Strong Communities, promoting community organizing and advocacy to transform the criminal justice system in New Orleans to one that is fair, safe and accountable to all regardless of race and economic status. In this work Norris has achieved significant wins and has built bridges with other organizations, acting as the Safe Streets representative in a city-wide coalition on race and criminalization. He also regularly speaks publicly in support of the underprivileged, immigrant workers’ rights, and the rights of the under-served. Sharing his first hand experience of racism and brutality in the criminal justice system, Norris has affected public policy and public discourse about police accountability, public defense for poor and indigent people, and reforms to the notorious Orleans Parish Prison (OPP).
Norris serves on a number of organizations’ Boards of Directors including Family & Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children. He is the past recipient of the 2015 Martinet Society Award for advancing the cause of justice, 2014 Data News Weekly “Trailblazer of the Year” and the 2013 Society of American Law Teachers Human Rights Award.