All posts by Murphy Institute

Making History: Banning the Box & Labor in Queer America


We’re living in historic times. Over the past few months, we’ve seen marriage equality become the law across the United States. More locally, we’ve seen the NYC Fair Chance Act fundamentally alter the economic opportunity landscape for those with criminal records, requiring public and private sector employers to wait until after a conditional job offer to make any inquiries about criminal history.

Just how did we get here? On this week’s edition of Building Bridges Radio with Mimi Rosenberg and Ken Nash, the hosts talk with Miriam Frank, author of Out in the Union: A Labor History Of Queer America, along with Brandon Holmes, Community Civil Rights Organizer with VOCAL-NY, which has been instrumental in NYC’s Ban the Box efforts.

Check it out.

Rhode Island Working Families Seeks State Director

Rhode Island Working Families is a newly formed progressive independent political organization that will fight for economic, social, and racial justice — and win. Formed by labor unions, community organizations and grassroots activists, our aim is to win policy shifts that ensure dignity and justice for working class communities, communities of color and all Rhode Islanders.

Job Scope:
Working Families seeks a passionate and effective leader to launch and direct a progressive political organization that builds power for working class, middle class, and poor families in Rhode Island. Working closely with leaders of labor, community, and other progressive organizations, the State Director oversees all campaigning activities and the growth and development of the organization. The ideal candidate will be someone able to lead ambitious and innovative campaigns; navigate complex political relationships; build and implement a plan of action together with diverse constituencies and inspire support and collaboration from staff, partners, donors, and other stakeholders.

Job Duties:
· Set the comprehensive organizational priorities for the state and execute effective strategies and tactics to advance the mission of Rhode Island Working Families;
· Develop and staff a local board of key institutional partners to guide the organization’s campaign priorities;
· Identify and prioritize campaign opportunities within the state and leverage resources to secure victories at the local and state level;
· Build a political network: expand coalitions with local and state progressive organizations, identify and mobilize concerned citizens, and reach out to new constituencies to expand the organization’s base of support;
· Cultivate external relationships with political decision-makers, coalition partners, donors, and other stakeholders;
· Generate media attention and build public awareness of Working Families initiatives and campaigns;
· Direct fundraising efforts: design and implement a fundraising plan;
· Develop and adhere to a statewide budget;
· Hire, supervise, and train staff, interns and volunteers.

Required education, experience, knowledge, and skills:
· A minimum of five or more years of relevant professional experience, including in leadership positions. Relevant experience includes (but is not limited to) working in political, union, community, and/or government settings.
· Strong demonstrated leadership ability;
· Excellent analytical skills and sound judgment;
· Strong verbal and written skills; the ability to communicate persuasively in a charged atmosphere;
· Must be a results-oriented self-starter able to work under pressure on several projects at one time;
· Leadership experience working in coalition with diverse constituencies;
· A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional experience;
· Unwavering commitment to social and economic justice;
· Demonstrated fundraising experience preferred;
· Demonstrated staff management experience preferred.

Reports to:
The State Director reports to the Executive Committee of Rhode Island Working Families.

To apply:
Send a cover letter, resume and two references to RI Working Families will review candidates on an ongoing basis with the goal of a September 2015 start date.

The Working Families Party and the Working Families Organization are equal opportunity employers with a commitment to economic and social justice. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and members of other historically disenfranchised populations are strongly encouraged to apply.

In Search of a Model: Workforce Development in Corporate America

How have decades of union busting, “right-to-work” and the decline of organized labor affected workforce development? According to Corporate America beat back its best job trainers, and now it’s paying a price, a post on the Washington Post’s Wonkblog by Lydia DePillis, they’ve led to a decline in overall job preparedness — alongside an ever-growing need for an educated workforce.  DePillis writes:

Although unions have historically constructed high-quality educational pipelines to well-paying jobs in cooperation with employers, labor has lost ground over the years. In the absence of union training programs, businesses in vast sectors of the economy are scrambling to meet their workforce needs through other means, like piecemeal job training programs and partnerships with community colleges, with few solutions that have really broad reach.

Over the years, [costs have] shifted to workers and the public education system. Companies in general have been spending less on training, as jobs have grown more transitory. Companies don’t see the point in investing in someone who’ll only stick around for a few years, if that, particularly when economic prospects are uncertain. So, at a time when manufacturing requires more sophisticated knowledge, the companies have found themselves without a base of trained workers, leading to complaints about a “skills gap.”

For the full article, visit the Washington Post.


Photo by Bill Jacobus via flickr (CC-BY).

New Settlement Apartments Seeks Community Organizer for School Justice

New Settlement Apartments, home of the Parent Action Committee, is a non-profit, mixed-income housing and community service organization with a 25-year track record of active commitment to neighborhood revitalization, community building and organizing, and positive youth development. New Settlement currently provides year- round educational, cultural and recreational programs and social services to more than 9,500 youth and adults who live in the surrounding area.

The New Settlement Parent Action Committee (PAC) is an award-winning organization of concerned parents and community members fighting for educational justice for young people and families in the South Bronx and Citywide. Founded in 1996 by parents at a struggling elementary school, PAC is one of the City’s oldest and most respected parent organizing groups. We have fought and won campaigns for teacher leadership and mentoring, school facility improvement, and reductions in school-based arrests, summonses and suspensions. PAC’s diverse membership, including Latin American and Caribbean immigrants, African-American families, and progressive educators- are united by a deep belief that every child deserves an excellent education in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment, and that the best way to guarantee this right is to improve the quality of neighborhood
schools. Our history has been documented in the film Parent Power and Michael Fabricant’s Organizing for Educational Justice: The Campaign for Public School Reform in the South Bronx.

Currently, PAC organizes to end the school-to-prison pipeline in Bronx schools, to improve the quality of neighborhood schools by increasing teacher training and support, to implement community school programming, and to pilot research-based parent engagement strategies that are proven to rebuild relationships between schools and communities. PAC is a founding member of the Coalition for Educational Justice and an active member of the Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York. In addition to our campaign work, we build parent leadership through workshops, bimonthly membership meetings, and regular leadership trainings. PAC’s work is envisioned and led by parent leaders.

Since 2012, PAC has coordinated a sophisticated and complex campaign to end the school-to-prison pipeline in Bronx schools, with specific demands around reducing the number of school-based arrests, summonses and suspensions, increasing training for School Safety Agents and school staff, and supporting the creation of new positive discipline and restorative justice programs. PAC convenes Bronx School Justice, a working group led by parents, educators and advocates in collaboration with the Department of Education and NYPD School Safety. Results of Bronx School Justice include:
• A 78% reduction in school-based summonses and 60% reduction in school-based arrests in Bronx Schools.
• First-ever community-led trainings for School Safety Agents on the effects of punitive school discipline on students and families and the principles of positive discipline and restorative justice. Over 1000 SSAs have been trained.
• Piloting the Bronx School Exchange on Positive Discipline Alternatives to support the development of restorative practices in Bronx Schools.

The Parent Action Committee seeks a bold, creative and committed community organizer to strengthen and expand our school safety campaign. Guided by the Lead Organizer and in coordination with other organizers and interns, the C.O. will work to strengthen PAC’s broad base of parents and community members who are committed to education reform work, understands what it takes to build a movement and are prepared to take action to transform local schools and the NYC public school system as a whole. Responsibilities will include:

• Base-building and leadership development to engage parents in our school safety work.
• Cultivating relationships with educators and allies, coordinating PAC’s involvement in local and Citywide coalitions.
• Leading campaign development for a new campaign to expand the resources for positive discipline and restorative justice in Bronx schools and Citywide.
In addition, the C.O. will build our organizational capacity by preparing materials and agendas for bimonthly general meetings, implementing a media and social media strategy, and supporting fundraising efforts (depending on skill and experience.)
EXPERIENCE, EDUCATION & SKILLS REQUIRED: Minimum two years’ experience organizing grassroots groups and working with families of color; openness to other communities and cultures; strong group facilitation skills; good writing and public speaking skills; proven track record in community outreach, research and campaign development. Passion for social justice, confidence and a willingness to persevere are essential qualities. General knowledge of New York City public school system, juvenile justice issues and school discipline a plus. English/Spanish bilingual skills strongly preferred. Work schedule includes some evenings and weekends.

SALARY AND BENEFITS OFFERED: Competitive salary commensurate with experience. Comprehensive benefits package, including 401(k).

TO APPLY: Send cover letter, résumé and list of three professional references to Subject: PAC School Justice Organizer Search.
No phone calls please.


Originally Posted: June 18, 2015

Transportation Alternatives Seeks Brooklyn Community Organizer

Transportation Alternatives is New York City’s leading transportation advocacy organization, with a citywide network of 100,000 supporters committed to better bicycling, walking and public transit in the five boroughs. Our mission is to reclaim New York City’s streets from the automobile, and to advocate for bicycling, walking and public transit as the best transportation alternatives.

Summary of Position

We are seeking a self-motivated and energetic person to support the Brooklyn Transportation Alternatives Activist Committee and coordinate campaigns that will make Brooklyn’s streets safer and more accessible for people to walk, ride bikes and take public transportation. Applicants should be familiar with current local politics, have experience in political and/or community organizing and have a strong affinity for the mission of Transportation Alternatives.

T.A.’s Brooklyn Activist Committee (TABK) is a growing activist network that runs locally-based street safety campaigns to win major changes to our city’s transportation network. With the City’s recent and historic commitment to achieve Vision Zero – the policy goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2024 – there has never been a more important time for citizen action for safe streets in Brooklyn.

The TA Brooklyn Activist Committee believes that a more equitable New York City must provide all residents with safe, accessible and environmentally sound modes of transport. As the lead facilitator of TABK, most of the Brooklyn Community Organizer’s time will be spent working with community members and neighborhood leaders to organize support for measures to make local streets safer. The Brooklyn Community Organizer and the Brooklyn Committee works closely with elected officials, community boards, city agencies and civic organizations to help realize community demand for safe and equitable streets.

Community organizing at T.A. is inherently collaborative work. On any given week the Brooklyn Community Organizer will be working closely with the other borough organizers and the policy and research team at T.A. to ensure that Brooklyn campaigns are as engaging and impactful as residents hope they will be. Because the Brooklyn Organizer will need to attend community board meetings, meet with local community members in the evening and conduct outreach events on the weekends, this will not be a traditional 9-5 position. Some night and weekend work will be required. As a result, flex time is built into the weekly schedule.

• Conducting outreach, developing campaign strategy, recruiting volunteers to transform community streets by attending and hosting public meetings, canvassing and conducting on-the-ground targeted recruitment
• Organizing and facilitating monthly general-body committee meetings and community meetings
• Developing and maintaining strong relationships with key political players, opinion leaders and allied organizations
• Developing strong volunteer leaders through training and leadership- development exercises
• Participating in coalitions with other organizations
• Participating in regular team meetings at central office

• A minimum of one year of experience in union, community, political or issue-based organizing
• Strong time-management skills, with the ability to meet goals and deadlines while working independently
• Strong work ethic and ability to multi-task
• Detail-oriented and well-organized approach to tasks
• Strong interpersonal skills; ability to build trust and maintain relationships with dozens of community partners
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills
• Ability to use social media and other web-based outreach tools effectively
• Knowledge of Brooklyn neighborhoods, strongly preferred
• Bilingual English-Spanish, strongly preferred

• Commitment to building a more equitable NYC
• Commitment to social justice
• Commitment to organizing people to achieve change
• Comfort working independently in a fast-paced campaign environment
• A sense of humor

We offer competitive salary and benefits including an employer contributed health/dental plan, a matching retirement plan, 3 weeks paid vacation, professional development opportunities, transit/bike commuter benefits and indoor bike parking. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with experience.

To Apply:
Please send cover letter and resume to: with “Brooklyn Community Organizer” in the subject line


Transportation Alternatives is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, political orientation or any other characteristic protected by federal state or local law. We value having diverse staff in gender, ethnicity, background and modal preference.

Apply Online

Tenants and Neighbors Seeks Vista Tenant Organizer, At-Risk HUD Affordable Housing

Tenants & Neighbors is a small, dynamic, grassroots organization that harnesses the power of tenants to preserve at- risk affordable housing and strengthen tenant rights in gentrifying neighborhoods throughout New York. We have two affiliate organizations, one that does grassroots tenants organizing at the building and community- level to preserve at-risk affordable housing developments, and one that does tenant-led legislative organizing and advocacy to address the underlying causes of loss of affordability.

About the HUD VISTA Tenant Organizer Position: The VISTA tenant organizer position will be a two-year position funded by the federal housing agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of a national tenant organizing program. The tenant organizer will assist, inform, educate, and engage tenants living in buildings that are at risk of loss of affordability, assist in campaigns to preserve HUD- assisted affordable housing, and participate in a national movement to preserve at-risk affordable housing with the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT). We are seeking a VISTA Tenant Organizer to carry out outreach, education, and organizing work associated with this new grant.

The tenant organizer will:

  • identify eligible buildings for outreach, organizing, and tenant engagement and prioritize buildings at risk due to expiring use restrictions, substandard physical or social conditions;
  • engage in door-to-door outreach, identify and recruit tenant leaders to help form or strengthen independent tenant associations or organizing committees that meet HUD standards in 3-4 targeted Section 8 developments per year, averaging 150 apartments per development;
  • with Supervisor, provide training in tenants’ rights, HUD housing subsidies, and organizational and leadership development to targeted tenant associations;
  • work in close partnership with VAHPP Legal Fellows based in the same geographic area;
  • help tenants identify critical areas of need and goals and strategies for selected buildings;
  • coordinate tenant efforts to engage owners, public officials, and HUD and other agencies to preserve and improve targeted properties;
  • assist tenant associations in networking and building alliances with other tenant associations and allies in their local areas and nationwide;
  • assist targeted tenant associations in obtaining services through negotiation with owners and referrals to other agencies;
  • assist sponsor in raising funds for at least one tenant leader from targeted buildings to attend the June NAHT training conference in Washington, DC;
  • participate in at least 3⁄4 of bi-weekly NAHT Network training calls and NAHT Network task forces, as appropriate;
  • help plan and arrange for tenant participation in regional “Eyes and Ears” meetings between tenant associations and HUD Headquarters and Regional staff, as appropriate,
  • develop written reports on “best practices” and victory stories and related materials to share with project partners and tenant associations;
  • track the number of organizations and tenants that receive capacity building services through an activity log;
  • track increased requests for organizing assistance made to local sponsoring organizations;
  • and support the broader goals and mission of the placement organization.

The Tenant Organizer will be supervised by the Executive Director and work very collaboratively with and receive support and guidance from other staff members.

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will have:

  • A commitment to social change;
  • At least one year of grassroots organizing experience, ideally tenant organizing;
  • basic knowledge of issues related to affordable housing preservation, and ideally more in-depth knowledge about concrete strategies for preserving HUD-assisted housing;
  • fluency in both English and Spanish;
  • strong written and verbal communication skills;
  • exceptional time and priority management skills; and
  • be professional, confident, personable, highly motivated, well organized, and detail oriented.

Stipend: $15,312, health insurance, and $5,730 Educational Stipend available upon completion of the program

To Apply: Send a thoughtful cover letter and resume to Katie Goldstein, Executive Director at . For more information about the program, see

HUD tenants are encouraged to apply.

Originally Published: June 30, 2015
New York, New York