Jerry Hawkins is the Executive Director of Dallas Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (DTRHT), part of a national 14-place initiative by The W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Dallas TRHT's mission is to create a radically inclusive city by addressing race and racism through narrative change, relationship building, and equitable policies and practices. Jerry is also a co-founder of The Imagining Freedom Institute (The IF Institute), a national research-based leadership group that helps organizations and institutions understand the historical context to contemporary issues of place, race and space. Jerry was formerly the Project Director of Bachman Lake Together for The Dallas Foundation and Zero To Five Funders Collaborative, an early childhood collective impact initiative in Dallas, and Director of Children's Services at the Wilkinson Center in East Dallas/Southeast Dallas.
Jerry is a 2022-2023 Independent Sector Bridging Fellow, a 2020-21 Presidential Leadership Scholar, a 2019 Leadership Arts Institute Fellow with the Business Council for the Arts, a Dallas County Historical Commission Member, a City of Dallas' City Plan Commission (CPC) Comprehensive Land Use Committee Appointee, serves on Dallas ISD’s Trustee-appointed Racial Equity Advisory Council and The Education Trust/ERS Resource Equity Working Group, and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas/PolicyLink/National Fund for Workforce Solutions 'Pathways to Work' Workforce Equity Advisory Council.
Jerry also serves on the boards of Leadership ISD, Deep Vellum Books, AccessH2O and Young Leaders, Strong City. Jerry has been awarded PBS/KERA's American Graduate Champion in 2017, an Outstanding Child Advocate at CHILDREN AT RISK’s Texas Academy Awards of Child Advocacy in 2020, was a 2022 nominee for "Best Community Leader" by The Dallas Weekly, and was selected as one of the “Dallas 500 Most Powerful Business Leaders in North Texas” in 2021 and 2022 by D CEO/D Magazine. Jerry’s first editorial offering, A People’s History of Dallas, will be published in late 2023 by Deep Vellum Books. Jerry received his undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education and Child & Family Services from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and his Master's degree in Education from Northeastern Illinois University's Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies. While living in Chicago, Jerry worked for Chicago Urban League and Chicago Public Schools.