Straight Ahead emerged from the movements to abolish death by incarceration (DBI) and solitary confinement in Pennsylvania. Our leaders come from the Abolitionist Law Center (ALC), Human Rights Coalition and the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI), organizations which have generated path-breaking research and communications around the issues of life-without parole and restorative justice while centering the leadership of the formerly and currently incarcerated and their family members. The movement has developed and worked with a growing network of grassroots community activists to build legislative support for parole eligibility for lifers, and created chapters of the grassroots CADBI organization in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Delaware County, Lancaster, Coatesville, and Lehigh Counties across the state.
NOW HIRING: Community Organizer
REGIONAL— Central PA
Straight Ahead is seeking a full-time Community Organizer for an aggressive volunteer community organizing operation to help build political power for communities impacted by state violence and pass legislation that will substantially reform the Commonwealth’s criminal legal system.
This Community Organizer position will be located in Central PA.
Straight Ahead will be undertaking a statewide campaign to pass legislation that will offer parole opportunities for more than 1,100 people serving life-without-parole (LWOP) sentences for felony murder convictions, and for the 10,000 elderly incarcerated people serving long or life sentences that will likely end with their death in prison without parole reform. Over the next two years, Straight Ahead will pass legislation that will contribute substantially toward shifting the criminal justice system in Pennsylvania from a punitive to a restorative paradigm, by:
- organizing impacted communities and allied organizations across the state to train them as advocates and build legislative support, with an emphasis on directly impacted people, progressive organizations, faith groups, and activists across the state to change narratives around crime, violence, and incarceration
- creating a statewide strategic communications campaign that will change the narrative around LWOP, long-term incarceration, violent offenses, and parole eligibility; and
- introducing legislation and keeping a permanent presence in the state capitol of Harrisburg.
Community Organizers are responsible for building a grassroots network of volunteers capable of engaging with elected officials as we work to move legislation.
Community Organizers serve an important role within the campaign and are responsible for the day-to-day recruitment, instruction and management of volunteer teams. For this reason, it is preferred that applicants for the position have at least three to six months of canvass or other community organizing experience on an issue advocacy, voter mobilization program, or legislative campaign. Strong organizational and communication skills as well as the ability to multitask and meet deadlines are required.
- Assist with the implementation of all aspects of the grassroots program, including but not limited to the recruitment, instruction and day-to-day management of volunteer teams
- Carry out recruitment activities as the lobbying program builds capacity
- Provide volunteer teams with the necessary guidance and resources required to master advocacy and mobilization best practices
- Respond with timeliness to all issues and incidents on the ground as well as communicate all relevant issues and incidents to the Statewide Community Organizer.
- Maintain a positive attitude and promote a culture of teamwork and cooperation within the assigned teams.
- A can-do attitude and a strong commitment towards achieving criminal justice reform and progressive change
- Community/advocacy/legislative experience; a minimum of three to six months preferred but not required
- Strong organizational and communication skills
- Able to perform under tight deadlines while maintaining good judgment
- Proficient in VAN, Microsoft Office Suite and Google Docs a plus
- Willing to work extended hours, evenings and weekends is required
- Reliable transportation and a valid driver’s license are a plus.
Salary and Benefits
This Community Organizer will be located in Central PA. This is a full-time, salaried position with some evening and weekend hours required. This position has a six-month introductory period. The salary starts at $43,000 and is negotiable based on experience. The position comes with a health insurance benefit of up to $400/month and 35 days (280hrs) of paid time off annually.
Reports to: Statewide Community Organizer
Please email your resume, two professional references, and a detailed cover letter explaining your interest in the position as a single PDF to email@example.com. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Position open until filled.
Straight Ahead is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, women, Indigenous people, LGBTQI-GNC people, and formerly incarcerated people are strongly encouraged to apply.