Academic Activist Fellow, Common Justice

Location: New York, NY

Department: Common Justice

Type: Internship

Min. Experience: Student (College)

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit organization that combines expertise in research, technical assistance, and demonstration projects to assist leaders in government and civil society examine justice policy and practice, and improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, and its projects and reform initiatives, typically conducted in partnership with local, state, or national officials, are located across the United States and around the world. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace.

Common Justice is currently a demonstration project of the Vera Institute of Justice that will become an independent nonprofit this fall.  The project develops and advances solutions to violence that transform the lives of those harmed and foster racial equity without relying on incarceration.  Locally, the project operates the first alternative to incarceration and victim service program in the United States to focus on violent felonies in the adult courts.  Nationally, it leverages the lessons from its direct service to transform the justice system through partnerships, advocacy, and elevating the experience and power of those most impacted.  Rigorous and hopeful, Common Justice builds practical strategies to hold people accountable for harm, break cycles of violence, and secure safety, healing and justice for survivors and their communities.

Healingworks, a project of Common Justice, is a national learning collaborative for people and organizations working with young men of color who have been harmed by trauma. HealingWorks’ goal is to unite the individuals and organizations that do this critical work, providing mechanisms to share and explore practices, increase resources, and elevate the leadership of those who have paved the way.

Common Justice/HealingWorks is seeking a qualified student, independent thinker, and intrinsically motivated person who is passionate about social justice to join our team. Our Academic Activist Fellowship is designed to expand your knowledge about social change agencies and develop your personal capacity for advocacy and activism. Individuals who have been justice involved or impacted by systems of oppression are highly encouraged to apply.

This position will be based at the Common Justice Brooklyn office.


Responsibilities and Skills Development

Activism development: Fellows will expand their capacity for advocacy and activism by assisting the HealingWorks team in the following ways:

  • Building and expanding external partnerships with community-based organizations and groups.
  • Organizing and facilitating group trainings and workshops.
  • Developing social media organizing and campaign strategies.
  • Outreach to other social justice organizations, in-person, by phone and email.
  • Drafting PowerPoint presentations, webinars, and other computer-based activities.

Academic development: Fellows will build their knowledge about social change agencies by assisting the HealingWorks team in the following ways:

  • Researching, reviewing and summarizing articles, publications from peer reviewed journals, and relevant institutions publishing in the areas of trauma, masculinity, and violence affecting young men of color.
  • Developing interview prompts and listening session questions for community-based research projects.
  • Conducting interviews and listening sessions with community partners, historically marginalized community members, and other community stakeholders.
  • Collecting both quantitative and qualitative data, transcribing data, and creating field maps.



Candidates must possess the following qualifications:

  • Graduate student with concentration in sociology, psychology, social work, or other related fields. Undergraduate students with strong academic records and proven commitment to social justice will be considered;  
  • Evolved critical thinking and analytical skills;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills;
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to work independently and collaboratively with other divisions at Common Justice;
  • Bilingual a plus but not required;
  • Research skills: familiarity with research databases such as EBSCOHOST, JSTOR, Google Scholar is a plus;
  • Cultural attunement and experience working with diverse populations.



This is a 20-hour/week paid internship ($15 per hour) and it can also be used for college credit where appropriate.


How to apply

Please submit your resume, a personal statement describing why you are interested in the internship, (500 words or less), and a 4-6 page writing sample. The writing sample should be related to a social justice issue that you are passionate about and can be a previously written document.

Electronic submission in PDF format is preferred.

However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to

ATTN: Human Resources / Academic Activist Fellowship, Common Justice

Vera Institute of Justice

233 Broadway, 12th Floor

New York, NY 10279

Fax: (212) 941-9407

Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.

No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.


Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.


For more information about Vera and Common Justice’s work, please visit

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