South Mississippi native Reilly Morse to head Justice Center

Sun Herald

Coast attorney Reilly Morse has been named president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit Mississippi Center for Justice. Morse, currently managing director, begins his new job Nov. 1. Founding president and CEO Martha Bergmark will maintain a leadership role as senior counsel and member of the board of directors.

MCJ has since it was founded in 2003 worked to advance racial and economic justice, with a staff of more than 30, offices in Jackson, Biloxi and Indianola, and an operating budget of $4 million.

“I cannot imagine a better qualified person to assume leadership of the center at this momentous time than Reilly Morse,” Bergmark said in a news release. “Over the past eight years, Reilly has demonstrated the vision, commitment and creativity it will take to catapult our work to the next level. Under his leadership, we’ll continue to make great strides in advancing racial and economic justice in our state.”

A third-generation Coast lawyer, Morse began work at the center weeks after Hurricane Katrina.

He has been serving as managing director, and previously worked as policy director and leader of housing and community development campaigns. He led MCJ’s multi-year campaign to provide legal services to hurricane survivors and ensure fairness in the recovery process.

MCJ credits Morse’s litigation and advocacy with helping secure $172 million in disaster funding for 6,000 families who had not been previously assisted through housing recovery programs.

“It is a great honor to lead the Mississippi Center for Justice into its second decade,” Morse said in the news release. “Mississippians who strive for better conditions in education, health care, fair credit, and housing are facing unprecedented challenges. The center is going to be right there with them — advocating in communities, the policy arena and the courtroom. We are grateful for the years of leadership from Martha, and we’ll continue to work with her to advance racial and economic justice in our state and across the country.”