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Director of Campaigns and Advocacy

Website Essie Justice Group

The Opportunity

Essie Justice Group (Essie) is building grassroots power to dismantle the US incarceration system, the most egregious creator of racial and gender injustice of our time. We are a loving and powerful community of women with incarcerated loved ones—and include cisgender women, transgender women, formerly incarcerated women, gender nonconforming (GNC) people, elders, and young people.

Building a sustainable grassroots institution that can be leveraged in the fight for a Black Feminist future is a priority at Essie. Through the development of thoughtful organizing models, a vibrant organizational culture, and scalable structure our aim is to break the isolation of the 1 in 4 women who have loved ones behind bars and sustain bold decarceration advocacy through the leadership of women with loved ones behind bars. For the past eight years, we have been building an active membership across California, and at the national level leading in the development of transformative policy solutions including the Movement for Black Lives’s BREATHE Act. Now, Essie is waging ever more ambitious campaigns to divest from state-sponsored punitive control and invest in structures that support the self-determination, freedom, and dignity of Black women and GNC people. We are seeking a Director of Campaigns and Advocacy to leverage our collective power to build and implement campaigns to transform systems of control and confinement.

The Director of Campaigns and Advocacy is a visionary leader who believes in the power of people to change systems of oppression, a strategic leader who can create and execute a winning plan, and an inspirational leader who can cultivate and energize people and teams. As one of Essie’s chief policy architects, this Director will bring life to the demands published in our groundbreaking report, Because She’s Powerful: The Political Isolation and Resistance of Women with Incarcerated Loved Ones.  In 2022, this Director will lead our staff and members in developing concrete initiatives toward our goals of realizing prison closures, divestment from punitive systems of justice and investment in community, and elimination of cash bail and pretrial detention, with a primary focus on California campaigns and select national advocacy initiatives. This goal-oriented person is skilled at organizing complex projects and delegating tasks, able to manage several priorities as well as staff, and follow through on various deliverables at once.

As a senior member of the organizational leadership, the Director of Campaigns and Advocacy reports directly to the Executive Director and will help shape Essie’s present and future—contributing to strategic decision making in the present while helping to architect Essie’s internal growth in alignment with our values. At Essie, how we win is as important as what we achieve, and our ideal Director of Campaigns and Advocacy approaches Black Feminist organizational culture development and scaled organizing goals with equal rigor and commitment.



Core Responsibilities

Organizational Positioning & Partnership for Advocacy – Ensure Essie has the relationships and positioning needed to move our membership’s ambitious policy demands forward.

  • Skillfully develop and maintain organizational partnerships through nuanced and thoughtful consideration of people, positioning, and the health of our broader movement.
  • Recommend and develop proposals for Essie’s stance on policy issues, and coordinate with the Membership and Organizing Team to facilitate membership decision-making processes.
  • Represent Essie in key coalitions as needed and oversee Essie’s participation in coalitions held by other members of the Campaigns and Advocacy Team.
  • Represent Essie in media and at events to build support for campaign and advocacy activities.


Development & Implementation of Campaign Strategy – Build and maintain the campaign infrastructure, and design and implement campaign strategies that bring about decarceration wins in California and beyond.

  • Develop and lead strategic, impactful decarceration and criminal justice campaigns rooted in Essie’s abolitionist, race- and gender-justice perspective and unique power, and with a clear value-add to the existing political landscape.
  • Design and implement campaign structures and processes appropriate for member-led campaigns.
  • Create and co-develop campaign strategy with Essie staff and members, employ well-honed and member-responsive campaign methodology, and carry out tactics that may include but are not limited to direct action, lobbying, policy advocacy, canvassing, and cultural organizing.
  • Oversee legislative strategy; build and co-hold influential relationships with public officials and staffers.
  • Train Essie members in various aspects of campaign development and implementation, write and publish training curricula, and find other ways to maximize multi-tiered participation in campaigns and advocacy.
  • Lead the Campaigns and Advocacy team in the publishing of short policy reports, white papers, policy position letters, and other materials to further campaign demands.
  • Develop and manage relationships with highly skilled and talented specialists, staff, and other vendors to ensure campaigns can have quick and forceful impact.


Organizational Leadership –  Serve on the Essie Directors Team in order to strategically steward organizational resources in alignment with Essie’s mission and vision.

  • Work collaboratively and consistently with other directors at Essie to define strategic priorities, make decisions about unanticipated opportunities, and manage to operational plan goals.
  • Develop departmental budgets and work systems, and build and manage a dynamic Campaigns and Advocacy staff team.
  • Establish and maintain sound stewardship of Essie’s Campaigns and Advocacy materials, intellectual property, and budget.
  • Hold external relationships necessary to run the overall Campaigns and Advocacy program successfully.
  • Lead in special projects as needed.
  • Embody and promote Essie’s Black Feminist culture and values internally and externally.


Who We Are Looking For

Ideal Qualifications

  • A minimum of 7 years experience in legislative, electoral, or political grassroots campaign development and implementation with a minimum of 5 years serving in a vital leadership role in a high impact campaign from beginning to end.
  • Experience creating campaigns that operate outside of system-prescribed avenues for change.
  • Demonstrated ability to consistently make accurate and clear assessments about a constantly changing political landscape and with foresight, make determinations, produce insightful ideas, and set forth impactful next steps.
  • Advanced experience in facilitating retreats, workshops, and/or popular education training.
  • Meaningful experience supervising multiple full time staff, especially managers of managers, and experience supporting colleagues with direct experience of incarceration.
  • Significant experience supervising people in a way that acknowledges differentials in privilege and power, recognizes their gifts, encourages their confidence, supports their growth, and holds them accountable to standards.
  • Impeccable and effective writing, editing, and verbal communication skills.
  • Track record as a collaborative leader who excels in managing multiple projects.
  • Adept with Mac operating systems, Google Suite, and MS Office Suite (especially Excel, Powerpoint, and Word).
  • Commitment to the beliefs and values of Essie with a demonstrated passion for progressive politics, specifically in gender justice, race justice and ending mass incarceration.



  • A pragmatic visionary. Leveraging people power in campaigns to end systems of oppression is your life’s work. You carry an optimism that is rooted in an accurate and clear appreciation of what is possible. You find yourself thinking four steps ahead and as a result, you have a precise eye for seeing unaccounted for risks, gaps in strategy, and latent potential. Because you’re exceptionally strategic, it’s a quality you tend to prize in your comrades.
  • Sees #Woke as a verb. You are committed to continuously deepening and evolving your own understanding of systems of oppression through study, openness, and humility. And you easily recognize your own relationship to privilege and power, examining and shifting your behaviors as appropriate.
  • Values people, process, and results. You are an exceptionally hard worker. You thrive in inspiring environments in which stuff gets done with speed, great impact, and focus. You are the kind of leader that rolls up your sleeves and gets in the work with your team as a way to both model the leadership you seek to build and learn from your people as you engage in strategic action together.
  • Discernment and honesty we can trust. You are a thoughtful team member who acts in alignment with your integrity and are unfailingly trustworthy. You earn rather than demand the trust of people by listening and making decisions thoughtfully.
  • Uplifting and additive. You see mistakes as opportunities for growth; problems as catalysts for solutions, and inspire others along the journey. You carry a positive approach, can-do attitude, and authentic kindness wherever you go.


The Position

The Director of Campaigns and Advocacy is a full-time, salaried, exempt position. This position is supervised by the Executive Director. The salary for this position is between $120,000 – $140,000 depending on experience with full medical, dental, and vision benefits, 401(k) with up to 3% match, a substantial vacation package, and a monthly personal wellness stipend. The position is based in one of Essie’s offices in Oakland or Los Angeles, California. All Essie staff are required to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with limited exceptions for medical or religious reasons.



To Apply

Please address a personal, specific, and thoughtful cover letter to the “Essie Hiring Committee” and submit along with a resume through our hiring portal ( Your resume tells us what you can do; your cover letter should tell us who you are and why you want to work with Essie.

Essie Justice Group provides equal employment and advancement opportunities to all staff members. Employment decisions are based on merit, qualifications, and skills. Essie does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, immigration status, socioeconomic status, ancestry, age, size, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, familial status, veteran status, disability, AIDS/HIV status, medical condition, prior conviction, arrest history, traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Essie values and specifically seeks applicants who are people with incarcerated loved ones; formerly incarcerated people; people of color; women; queer, transgender, gender non-conforming (GNC), and gender fluid people.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, performance assessment, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.


About Essie Justice Group

Essie Justice Group is a non profit organization of women with incarcerated loved ones taking on the rampant injustices created by mass incarceration. Our award-winning Healing to Advocacy Model brings women together to heal, build collective power, and drive social change. Essie is Great Place to Work-Certified™ by Great Place to Work. Learn more at

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