MJ Hart

Project Coordinator, Pathways to Higher Education

MJ Hart is the Pathways to Higher Education Project Coordinator at the Youth Law Center (YLC), where they play a pivotal role in developing and implementing programming, and supporting statewide policy that facilitates access to higher education for juvenile justice-involved youth.

Born and raised in North Fair Oaks, Redwood City, CA. MJ's early life was overshadowed by the superpredator myth, leading to extensive time in juvenile and adult correctional facilities. Breaking free from these confines, MJ harnessed the power of education for personal liberation and communal upliftment––becoming the first in their family to earn a high school diploma and venture into higher education, paving the way for their loved ones and community. During their undergrad, MJ's advocacy shone through as they co-founded the Guardian Scholars Program at Foothill College and the Underground Scholars Program at UC Santa Cruz; both geared towards supporting marginalized students, especially those emerging from incarceration and the foster care system. MJ's deep understanding of the challenges faced by scholars from similar backgrounds fuels their dedication to creating educational pathways that not only provide access but also empower juvenile justice-involved youth to reclaim their narratives, awaken their critical consciousness, and boldly step into a future they shape.

MJ's advocacy extends beyond academia into youth organizing, community outreach, re-entry navigation, and artistic expression. Through their art, MJ advocates for a societal shift towards empathy and solidarity, underscoring the transformative power of education and advocacy. MJ's life and work stand as a vivid reminder that from adversity can spring hope, leadership, and transformative change.


B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz, 2020
A.A., Foothill College, 2018