David is the Managing Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School. Mr. Harris has extensive experience in many facets of civil rights issues from police brutality and racial profiling, to redistricting and domestic violence, as well as fair housing and community development. Prior to his position at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute he served as founding Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston. During his tenure, the Fair Housing Center became nationally recognized among fair housing organizations. The center’s work generated several original analyses of housing discrimination patterns in Greater Boston and the organization became a leading force for fair housing and regional equity.
Mr. Harris is recognized as a leading voice for civil rights in the Boston region and has spoken extensively at local, regional and national forums on civil rights, regional equity and fair housing.
Mr. Harris previously served with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. His cases at HUD, including the landmark Jane Doe v. BHA, garnered some of the largest damage awards and most extensive affirmative relief in New England. While at the Commission on Civil Rights he conducted studies of the civil rights implications of domestic violence in Connecticut, legislative redistricting in Rhode Island and highway construction on integrated neighborhoods.
He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University, a B.A. from Georgetown University and is an adjunct faculty member of Cambridge College. Mr. Harris is the President of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.