Careers at Straight Ahead

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.

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NOW HIRING: Transformative Justice Organizer
REGIONAL — Philadelphia

Straight Ahead, a 501c4 dedicated to criminal justice reform in Pennsylvania that has emerged from the Abolitionist Law Center, Human Rights Coalition and Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration, is seeking a Transformative Justice Organizer to work with people who identify as survivors of crime. Since the 1970s, politicians have used victims’ stories and voices to build a mass incarceration system built on punishment rather than healing, and fracturing communities rather than strengthening them.  This position is about reclaiming what victims and communities impacted most by policing and incarceration need. The organizer will contact and build connections with those who have had harm done to them and develop and advocate for policy changes that will provide healing, especially those in poor, black, brown communities, and that experience the most crime and the highest policing and incarceration rates, and develop messaging around these experiences. 

This Transformative Justice Organizer position will be located in Philadelphia.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Build an active base and community of people in Pennsylvania who have been impacted by crime and violence
  • Work with our established core of volunteers who identify as victims, while developing new volunteer leaders and advocates
  • Develop trauma-informed trainings so that people feel supported throughout their development
  • Participate in, and sometimes organize, events and legislative visits that Straight Ahead and its partners are doing
  • Develop messaging with other parts of Straight Ahead team to help counter current narratives of incarceration and public safety
  • Participate in regular planning meetings with the rest of the Straight Ahead team to develop strategy for achieving lasting policy changes 

Requirements:

  • Empathetic and trauma-informed organizing style; ability to develop strong relationships of mutual respect and trust 
  • Experience in working within victim advocate services or victim advocate organizations
  • Strong commitment to racial and social justice, and familiarity with abolition and decarceration principles
  • Understanding of structural issues that create and reinforce poverty, crime, and multiple levels of victimhood
  • Ability to travel within Pennsylvania
  • Willingness to work in person when necessary
  • Ability to problem-solve and find creative solutions for challenges or obstacles that arise
  • Ability to work independently but also within larger strategy, and to keep multiple projects and staggered deadlines 

Strongly preferred that the organizer has direct experience with harm and comes from communities most impacted by violence and incarceration. 

Reports to: Executive Director and Campaign Director 

Salary and Benefits:

This position will be based in Philadelphia. This is a full-time, salaried position. The salary for this position is 50k annually, with a health insurance benefit of up to $400.00 a month and 35 days (280hrs) of paid time off annually.

Travel necessary to work such as lodging, food, transportation tickets will be reimbursed or covered. 

Application Process:

Please email your resume, two professional references, and a detailed cover letter explaining your interest in the position as a single PDF to roxanne@straight-ahead.org. 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.

NOW HIRING: Community Organizer
REGIONAL— Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware Counties

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 Philadelphia.

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:

  1.  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
  2.  Creating a statewide strategic communications campaign that will change the narrative around LWOP, long-term incarceration, violent offenses, and parole eligibility; and
  3.  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.

Job Responsibilities:

  • 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 community organizing events with the intention of increasing volunteer network 
  • Provide volunteer teams with the necessary guidance and resources required to master advocacy and mobilization best practices
  • Maintain connections with base both in already established networks in Philadelphia Area and with newly made connections from community events 
  • 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.

Requirements:

  • 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.
  • Willingness to have meetings in person, both indoors and outdoors.

Salary and Benefits

This Community Organizer will be located in Philadelphia. 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 $48,000 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

Application Process

Please email your resume, two professional references, and a detailed cover letter explaining your interest in the position as a single PDF to roxanne@straight-ahead.org. 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.