JOB POSTING: Political Director

Political Director Job Description

BACKGROUND AND MISSION

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago and Asian American Midwest Progressives build power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity.

For 30 years, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago (“Advancing Justice | Chicago”) has worked to bring together the Asian American community and create change in our communities. We are deeply committed to grassroots community organizing and we invest in the leadership of grassroots community members through training, community education, civic engagement, and collaborative issue-based campaigns. In order to strengthen our work and transform the inequities in our city, state, and Midwest region, we work with multiracial coalitions that emphasize racial equity, accountability to those most impacted, and an infrastructure of grassroots leadership. Our advocacy work focuses on promoting racial, economic, and immigrant justice, including initiatives in the areas of voting rights, language access, and immigrant rights.

As part of the national Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliation, Advancing Justice | Chicago is a leader in the nationwide Asian American movement. Regionally, Advancing Justice | Chicago and Asian American Midwest Progressives (AAMP) are prioritizing the Midwest region and collaborating with partners in Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan to tackle common struggles and build power.

AAMP was founded in 2018 to focus on electoral organizing, mobilizing Asian American voters, and holding elected officials accountable through issue-based campaigns. AAMP is a 501(c)(4) organization that shares staff and office space with Advancing Justice | Chicago, which is a 501(c)(3).

POSITION DESCRIPTION

This dual role is an exciting opportunity for a strategic relationship-builder to serve as the Political Director for Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP. The Political Director will be the primary lobbyist for both organizations and will co-create campaign strategy with the Director of Organizing. In addition, the Political Director will conduct policy research to support the organizing team, lead political education efforts with our grassroots base, and create external communications and talking points for our issue campaigns. As a member of the leadership team, the Political Director will also be responsible for guiding organization-wide decisions, maintaining healthy organizational culture, and managing personnel. This position reports to the Executive Director.

This position will fall under the staff sharing agreement between Advancing Justice | Chicago and Asian American Midwest Progressives (AAMP) so a portion of time will be spent on 501(c)(4) activities including partisan political work.

KEY ADVANCING JUSTICE | CHICAGO RESPONSIBILTIES:

  • Build strong relationships and advocate with elected officials and other decision-makers at the city, state, and county levels to advance advocacy efforts;
  • Organize regular meetings with the Asian American Caucus and Asian American Legislative Caucus;
  • Serve as Advancing Justice | Chicago’s primary lobbyist in Springfield and complete all required reporting for registered lobbyists;
  • Co-lead priority issue campaigns (state-level language access legislation for 2022-24) with the Director of Organizing, including developing campaign strategy, coordinating with legislative sponsors, managing coalition partners, and coordinating with Organizing Team staff;
  • Lead Advancing Justice | Chicago’s democracy and voting rights work, including a poll monitoring program, and supervise the Voting Rights Legal Fellow;
  • Track and analyze legislation relevant to Advancing Justice | Chicago’s priority issue areas, including immigration, language access, voting rights/democracy, education equity, and criminal justice;
  • Draft talking points and external communications for issues campaigns, including press releases;
  • Support the Pan Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Coalition’s agenda;
  • Represent Advancing Justice | Chicago in external coalitions, including the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Just Democracy Illinois;
  • Collaborate with the other Advancing Justice affiliates on national campaigns or joint projects, such as the national Asian Americans Advancing Justice Conference;
  • Partner with fellow Advancing Justice affiliates on immigration and voting rights and participate in monthly calls for each issue area;
  • Provide media interviews on key issues and current events, as needed;
  • Educate our staff, grassroots leaders, and others on policy issues, as needed;
  • Support and when appropriate take lead on organization-wide events and activities including direct actions, press conferences, rallies, lobby days, and other events as needed;
  • Provide regular updates to the Advancing Justice | Chicago Board of Directors;
  • Other duties as assigned.

KEY ASIAN AMERICAN MIDWEST PROGRESSIVES RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Lead and execute AAMP’s grassroots endorsement process, which typically takes place during state-level primary elections and Chicago municipal elections;
  • Steward co-governing relationships with endorsed candidates and key decision makers at city, county, and state levels;
  • Serve as AAMP’s primary lobbyist in Springfield and complete all required reporting for registered lobbyists;
  • Represent AAMP in external coalitions, including the Illinois Alignment Table;
  • Provide support for political events, such as public meetings, forums, etc.;
  • Assist in fundraising for AAMP, including but not limited to contributing to grant proposals/reports and participating in site visits with funders;
  • Provide regular updates to the AAMP Board of Directors;
  • Other duties as assigned.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS

As both a Senior Staff member and a public face of Advancing Justice | Chicago, the Political Director should be a strategic thinker and excellent communicator with impeccable follow-through and time management. The Political Director should demonstrate a unique blend of qualities and skills that reflect a passion and commitment to the organization’s mission, including the following:

  • Strong belief in the mission of the organization and uncompromising commitment to advancing racial equity;
  • 3-5 years of experience in policy advocacy or lobbying elected officials or government policy makers, including a deep knowledge of state, local, and/or federal legislative processes;
  • Significant experience with issue-based campaigns, including campaign strategy and tactics;
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills and ability to persuade others;
  • Strong follow-through on commitments and ability to hold others accountable;
  • Highly effective interpersonal, leadership, consensus-building, and coalition-building skills, with the ability to forge new relationships and foster existing ones;
  • Ability to juggle multiple projects, work well with others under pressure, set and meet deadlines, and manage time effectively;
  • Ability to communicate complex policy with multiple audiences, especially grassroots community members;
  • Commitment to proactively sharing and thoughtfully receiving feedback;
  • Openness and ability to adapt and respond to changes in the environment, and creatively adapt strategies and tactics as needed;
  • Knowledge of Asian American and/or immigrant/refugee issues;
  • Willingness to travel out-of-town and work evenings or weekends as needed (compensatory time is offered for evening and weekend work).
  • Proficiency with online platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft 365/Microsoft Office Suite, and Google Drive.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Strong understanding of the role that communications and media play in grassroots organizing and advocacy;
  • Experience supervising staff;
  • Familiarity with administrative aspects of a non-profit organization, including resource development;
  • Sincere commitment to work collaboratively with all constituent groups, including staff, board, volunteers, community members, and other supporters;
  • Familiarity with immigration policy.

COMPENSATION 

Exempt, full-time position. The salary range for the Political Director position is $75,000 to $85,000 based on experience. Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP offer a generous full benefits package.

INQUIRY AND APPLICATION PROCESS

Applications should be submitted electronically via email to work@advancingjustice-chicago.org and include:

  • Cover letter describing interest in the position, qualifications, and expectations,
  • Resume;
  • Writing sample of your choosing; and
  • Names of three references who can speak to the range of qualifications sought.

Please include “Political Director” in the subject line of your email. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but applications received by Sunday, November 13th will be prioritized.

Note: Given the COVID-19 pandemic, Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP staff are currently working in-person at our Uptown office two days a week (Tue/Thu) with optional work-from-home three days a week (Mon/Weds/Fri), which is subject to change. If you are invited for an interview, the interview may be held in person or over video conference.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified persons are encouraged to apply, regardless of race, color, creed, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, age, height, weight, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, marital or domestic partner status, or religious affiliation.

www.advancingjustice-chicago.org

*Posted 3/20/22, Updated 11/30/22