VOCAL-NY (Voices Of Community Activists & Leaders) Seeks Community Organizer (Criminal Justice & Civil Rights) (Brooklyn, NY)

Organizational Background

VOCAL-NY is a grassroots membership organization dedicated to building the power of low-income people affected by the drug war, mass incarceration, and HIV/AIDS to create healthy and just communities. Ending racially biased policing is an important goal of our work. This position is focused on engaging community members in advocacy and activism who have had unjust and biased police encounters or experienced incarceration.

Position Description

VOCAL-NY is seeking a talented individual interested in creating grassroots political power as part of a dynamic team. The community organizer will support leadership development and civic engagement among low-income people who are impacted by mass incarceration, and promote their participation in planning and policymaking that affects their lives. Examples of active campaigns include:

  • Ending biased policing practices like “broken windows” & reducing arrests
  • Eliminating money bail and dramatically reducing the pretrial population
  • Holding prosecutors accountable to the community
  • Removing barriers to employment, housing, and voting for people with conviction histories

Job activities are varied and may include: community outreach; mobilization; leadership development; base-building; event coordination; grassroots lobbying; monitoring the implementation of legislation; data collection and analysis; communications and media outreach; and creating public education and advocacy materials. Some administrative tasks (e.g. phone calls, data entry) are assigned as needed.

Job Responsibilities

  • Membership recruitment: Conduct base building activities and achieve targeted membership recruitment goals, especially through outreach at alternative-to-incarceration and re-entry programs, courthouses, and other venues as directed.
  • Leadership development: Conduct trainings that build the knowledge and skills of people who are impacted by mass incarceration to participate in planning and policymaking that affects their lives, as well as Know Your Rights trainings.
  • Issue ID and campaign coordination: Assist members in identifying advocacy issues, developing advocacy strategy and implementation.
  • Mobilization: Turn out large numbers of members to rallies, meetings and other events through mass phone banking and relationship-building.
  • Phone-banking: In addition to directly phone-banking, the position will coordinate phone-banking for members.
  • Membership meetings: Convene regular membership meetings and smaller campaign/committee meetings.
  • Support: The position will also be expected to provide support for all community organizing and campaigns around the drug war, mass incarceration and HIV/AIDS within VOCAL-NY as needed. We have a highly collaborative office environment where staff members provide regular support for each other’s campaigns, which is in part a function of our limited resources and ambitious scope of work.

Requirements / Qualifications

The ideal candidate will be an energetic, self-motivated individual who has strong interpersonal, public speaking, writing, and problem solving skills. Candidates must demonstrate interest in criminal justice, policing, and drug policy reform and a willingness to approach these issues through a racial justice analysis. Candidates must have at least two years of experience in community organizing and/or related fields. Advocacy campaign experience, significant community organizing experience, and Spanish fluency are pluses. Interest in working as a member of a team and in a fast-paced, dynamic environment is essential. Occasional evening and weekend work is required. Basic computer skills, including ability to use the internet, email, word processing (e.g. Microsoft Word) and spreadsheets (e.g. Excel) programs are required.


VOCAL-NY offers a generous benefits package of twenty days of paid vacation, 100% employer-covered health and dental insurance plan, and 403(b) retirement plan.

How To Apply

Please send a cover letter and résumé to jobs@vocal-ny.org. In the subject line, please put “Civil Rights Community Organizer [Your Name]”. No phone calls please.

VOCAL-NY is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, people of color, people who are LGBTQ and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. We are particularly interested in hiring those who have been adversely affected by the criminal justice system and the war on drugs.

The position will remain open until filled.

Note: Only those candidates under consideration will be contacted