Community Organizer
Essie Justice Group

Classification: Full TimeStart Date: 4/1/17

Applications: accepted on rolling basis up until 2/8/17

About Essie Justice Group:

Essie Justice Group (Essie) was founded in May of 2014 with a mission to harness the collective power of women with incarcerated loved ones to end mass incarceration’s harm to women.

We are building a large, bold policy advocacy network of predominantly Black and Latina women who have incarcerated loved ones across California in 2017. Today we live in an age of mass control. Patriarchy, racism, and punitive criminal justice policies have been devastating for women’s health, resources, and civic engagement, particularly for low-income women, women of color, and queer and trans women whose loved ones are caged and criminalized. 2.3 million people are incarcerated. 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 2 Black women has a family member in prison. In partnership with our formerly and currently incarcerated loved ones, we root ourselves in a gender analysis and a race justice analysis – working in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives, the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, and a variety of coalitions aimed at bringing about a more compassionate future free of race and gender violence.

Central to how we do our work is the belief that those directly impacted by oppressive systems must lead our liberation movements. We dedicate ourselves to a 9-week Healing to Advocacy model, developed by Essie Justice Group in order to engage women as change agents. The Essie sisterhood grows through our nominations process, in which incarcerated women and incarcerated men nominate women they love to our program. Community members also nominate women and women self-nominate through our website. When women graduate from the 9-week program, they are invited into the “Essie sisterhood,” which serves as our mobilizable base. In 2017, we are building a strong infrastructure of staff and organizational leaders to grow and transform our base into an advocacy network that will serve as the statewide organizing apparatus through which we bring about decriminalization, decarceration, and an end to state-sponsored violence against women and communities of color. So far, we have run our Healing to Advocacy 9-week model five times by forming cohorts of 15 women each in two cities in the Bay Area. Approximately 50 women with incarcerated loved ones in the California Bay Area have graduated as Essie Sisters and many are now leaders within our organization as Essie Fellows. In 2017, women graduates (known as “Essie sisters”) will facilitate and run up to ten new cohorts across California in 2017.

Before applying, please read more about Essie Justice Group online. We highly encourage you to learn as much as possible about us in order to put your best and truest self forward in our community-driven hiring process. For more information about our program, here’s a moving video created by our membership and recent articles in Essence and Huffington Post.

Please Note: Women with incarcerated loved ones, formerly incarcerated people, and those with direct experience with the criminal justice system are strongly encouraged to apply.


Position Description

We seek an exceptional, values-aligned individual to add to our impassioned, loving, and hard-working team. The Community Organizer will support the growth and sustainability of Essie’s community, and will lead the highly interpersonal activities that bring new women with incarcerated loved ones to Essie Justice Group. In 2017, the successful candidate will continue to develop and implement our nominations process, reaching hundreds of new women with incarcerated loved ones. In so doing, the Community Organizer will coordinate outreach, manage community events, and provide direct ongoing support to constituent leaders. The successful candidate will support the implementation of cohorts of women with incarcerated loved ones across the Bay Area and Los Angeles, as well as a growing national network of leaders.

The successful candidate will enter into a collaborative, team-driven work environment. However, certain core responsibilities come with the expectation that they will be completed at an exceptional quality without need for additional team member support. These may include and are not limited to: community organizing, recruitment, materials creation, clear and professional correspondence, logistics and administrative functions related to programmatic work, and group facilitation.

Qualifications and Skills

  • 2+ years of relevant experience in grassroots community organizing and supporting the leadership of people directly impacted by the social problem you are working to address.
  • Enthusiasm for developing and maintaining 1 on 1 intentional relationships with community members working to achieve a common goal.
  • Experience with and demonstrated abilities for recruitment and retention of community leaders.
  • Experience with and demonstrated abilities for facilitating community meetings and group discussions.
  • Communicates and manages up effectively.
  • Developed skills in project management, business email correspondence, and team building.
  • Proficiency with Mac operating systems, Google Docs, Canva, Keynote, and MS Office Suite (especially Excel, Word and PowerPoint).
  • Must be able and willing to travel occasionally.
  • Flexibility to work on evenings and weekends as necessary.
  • Spanish fluency ideal.


  • A strong commitment to the mission, goals, and philosophy of Essie, and a demonstrated alignment with anti-mass incarceration, race justice, and gender justice causes.
  • Exceptionally hard worker. Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, focused, and small office environment where each staff person assumes multiple responsibilities while striving to achieve shared goals.
  • Ability to consistently and sustainably hold space for people through difficult situations with compassion and empathy.
  • Impeccable ethics, highly developed decision-making skills and unfailingly trustworthy.
  • Anticipates needs and takes initiative to address them. Persists despite obstacles.
  • Outcome oriented, critical and creative thinker.
  • Positive approach, can-do attitude, and a sense of humor.
  • Enjoys an “all-in,” start-up, non-traditional work culture.

This position is based at the Essie offices in Oakland, California. This is not a remote position. Please address well-written and thoughtful 1 – 2 page cover letter to the “Essie Hiring Committee” and submit along with a resume and three references in one email with “Community Organizer Application – Your Name” in the subject line to no later than 9am PST on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.

Essie Justice Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer!

Essie Justice Group provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Essie complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Essie values and specifically seeks applicants who are people with incarcerated loved ones, formerly incarcerated people, people of color, women, LGBT, and gender fluid people. If this is you, know that your contributions and leadership are especially valuable at Essie. No background check will be conducted.

Essie values and specifically seeks applicants who are people with incarcerated loved ones, formerly incarcerated people, people of color, women, LGBTQ, and gender fluid people. If this is you, know your contributions and leadership are especially valuable at Essie. No background check will be conducted.

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