Who we are
The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, envisions a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for everyone. Vera is committed to securing equal justice, ending mass incarceration, and strengthening families and communities.
- We study problems that impede human dignity and justice.
- We pilot solutions that are at once transformative and achievable.
- We engage diverse communities in informed debate.
- And we harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice.
We work with others who share our vision to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day—from mass incarceration, racial disparities, and the loss of public trust in law enforcement to the unmet needs of people who are vulnerable, marginalized, and harmed by crime and violence. Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We hire employees that reflect our values: respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, and race equity. If you want to learn more about life at Vera click here.
The Initiative to End Girls' Incarceration
We are Vera’s Initiative to End Girls’ Incarceration team. We believe that communities and systems cannot ensure freedom and justice for all kids without being responsive to how gender and sexism intersect with racism to drive youth incarceration.
We work to end the incarceration of youth on the girls’ side of the juvenile justice system by building stronger, safer, and more equitable communities where girls and gender expansive youth of color are no longer criminalized for the violence and discrimination they face.
Through our initiative, we partner with “Getting to Zero” sites across the country to create new programs and enact systemic changes that will better support the safety and well-being of girls and gender expansive youth in their communities, address the root causes of their incarceration, and permanently close the doors to girls’ juvenile detention and placement facilities.
Our change process blends the practice experience and data generated by government systems with national research and the expertise of the young people, grassroots organizers, advocates, and service providers that are closest to the challenges we aim to address.
Over the coming few years, we are looking to leverage the success of the work across our sites to develop local and statewide advocacy campaigns that catalyze and focus movement-building efforts on getting to zero and to push for legislative and policy changes at the local, state, and federal level that can further our site-based work.
Our efforts are rooted in the following core values:
- Justice and Equity: All young people have a right to equitable access to resources within their communities, as well as equal protection of the law. Public systems, families and communities are accountable to youth, regardless of their identities.
- Self Determination and Freedom: All young people have a right to self-determination—to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be valued as experts in their own lives. Gender-responsive reform means recognizing girls’ resistance as strength, celebrating their power, and promoting their freedom.
- Safety and Safe Spaces: All young people have a right to grow up in places where they feel safe, where they are free from emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, and other threats to their safety. Systems must focus efforts on preventing and addressing the harm girls and gender expansive youth experience, rather than criminalizing girls’ defenses against harm.
- Childhood and Adolescence: All young people have a right to a healthy and supported childhood and adolescence. This includes the freedom to develop, experience, and express their identity and sexuality without judgment or consequence, as well as their right to love and be loved, to have meaningful and lasting connections with family, friends, and community.
Advocacy at Vera
Vera’s advocacy department is responsible for coordinating the vision, strategy, and staff development across Vera’s initiatives to pass legislation, change policy, and create change at scale. We work to ensure that the goals of our advocacy campaigns align with the people and communities most impacted by criminal justice and immigration policies, and we collaborate with movement and advocacy partners to produce the right knowledge and ideas needed to change policies and legislation at the right time.
What you'll do
The Advocacy Manager's responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Join the Initiative to End Girls’ Incarceration team as our thought leader on campaign and advocacy strategy. Lead our efforts to set an agenda for and deliver on advocacy campaigns and lobbying efforts that move our work forward within each of our local partner sites and on a national scale.
- Serve as our team’s in-house expert on the political and advocacy landscape nationally, within each local partner sites, and around our priority issue areas; track federal, state, and local legislation and the legislative and advocacy campaigns of major players and partners in the field.
- Create systems for ensuring program staff have their finger on the pulse of current change efforts at the national level and within our partner sites.
- Collaborate with EGI program staff to engage in partnership and coalition work, including building and leveraging partnerships with advocates and organizers to influence government and elected officials and advance policy priorities; connect to and work in collaboration with existing national and local coalitions and to execute collective legislative agendas and campaigns.
- Provide guidance and insight to EGI staff on governmental workings at the gubernatorial and legislative level, and effective strategies to leverage political influence. Educate teammates on how the legislative session, budget, and other core segments of a given jurisdiction’s political process work and partner with them to develop a strategy on navigating and winning change within that process.
- Lead the development, drafting, and passage of legislation, new regulations, or administrative policies.
- Write key campaign and advocacy materials and internal strategy documents.
- Serve as one of the public faces for our team's advocacy efforts, including with community partners as well as government and elected officials and the media.
- Liaise with Vera’s advocacy department staff to share advocacy insight at the initiative level, workshop initiative-level advocacy strategies, and participate in and advise on advocacy trainings.
- Manage one or more associate or analyst level staff members.
Who you are
- Most of all, you are committed to transformational change and share the belief that for the Initiative to End Girls’ Incarceration advocacy work to be effective, it must be rooted in anti-racism and anti-sexism; promote the self-determination and freedom of young people; and be aligned with the priorities of the young people and communities most impacted by this country’s juvenile justice and child-serving systems.
- You know youth justice, and you are committed to centering girls and gender expansive youth of color in the fight for youth justice. You understand the violence and oppression that girls and gender expansive youth of color face in our society and at the hands of our child-serving systems, and you know the policies and politics that shape and drive it.
- You know the ecosystem of and hold credible, deep relationships with leaders, advocates, and organizers who fight for and with girls and gender expansive youth of color.
- You have an extensive and nuanced understanding of child serving systems--especially juvenile justice systems--as well as the workings of local, state, and federal policy. You are knowledgeable and experienced at researching and analyzing federal, state, and local policy and legislation, and you have demonstrated experience in working within or with government to deliver change—legislative, regulatory, administrative, and more.
- You believe in the value of doing “inside” lane work in partnership with advocates, organizers, and people who are directly impacted by the system.
- We need to connect across the aisle, enter geographies we don’t currently operate in, build partnerships, and find new champions. You are a skilled oral and written communicator who can effectively reach and engage audiences—within government, advocates, and communities—and can take what we’re learning and use it to change our nation’s current over-reliance on youth incarceration.
- Your role is brand new and you must be flexible and comfortable shaping it into a meaningful one. You’re great at execution and see the big picture. You can multi-task, prioritize, and manage multiple activities in a fast-paced environment, and drive forward projects or threads of work within complex initiatives. You are energized by the opportunity to create change efforts from scratch and you truly enjoy working collaboratively with our team in a start-up capacity to shape our advocacy approach. You want to work with us to learn and build on each other’s ideas, look for how you can help without being told, and are open to giving and receiving feedback.
What qualifications you will need
The Advocacy Manager candidate will have the following qualifications:
- 7+ years of experience, with a minimum of 3+ in a senior role, in advocacy, organizing, and campaign work;
- A track record of working effectively to move legislation, policy, or public sentiment on youth justice issues.
- There is no minimum educational requirement for this position.
The Nitty – Gritty
- This is a full-time position available immediately.
- This position can be based in any of our office locations in Brooklyn, NY, Washington DC, New Orleans, LA or Los Angeles, CA or remotely.
- Salary is competitive plus excellent benefits.
How to apply
Please submit a cover letter and resume. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Online submission in PDF format (through Vera’s career page) is preferred. No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.
ATTN: Human Resources / Advocacy Manager
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
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, please visit www.vera.org