VOCAL-NY (Voices Of Community Activists & Leaders) Seeks Community Organizer

Organizational Background

VOCAL-NY is a grassroots membership organization dedicated to building the power of low-income people affected by the drug war, mass incarceration, and HIV/AIDS to create healthy and just communities. Creating access to medical marijuana for all New Yorkers in need is an important goal of our work. This position is focused on engaging community members in advocacy and activism who need access to medical marijuana and/or who want to help build an inclusive and racially just medical marijuana industry.

Position Description

VOCAL-NY is seeking a talented individual interested in building grassroots political power as part of a dynamic team. The community organizer will primarily support leadership development, community empowerment and civic engagement among sick and disabled people as well as families, allies and healthcare providers in support of safe and legal access to medical marijuana in New York State. The successful candidate will also work on VOCAL’s other campaigns related to marijuana reform such as, ending racially biased arrests for low-level marijuana possession and implementing a tax-and-regulate system for marijuana. Examples of campaign activities include:

  • Expanding patient rights and access by passing legislation that would amend New York State’s medical marijuana law.
  • Gaining medical marijuana access for low-income patients who cannot afford the price of the medical marijuana program.
  • Promoting racial justice in the New York State’s medical marijuana program as well as our campaign for medical marijuana access.

Job activities are varied and may include: community outreach; mobilization; leadership development; base-building; event coordination; monitoring the implementation of legislation; data collection and analysis; communications and media outreach; creating public education and advocacy materials; and administrative tasks as assigned.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Membership Recruitment & Leadership Development: Identify and develop medical marijuana patient leaders and family members by responding to email and phone inquiries, conducting one-on-one relational meetings, nurturing an understanding of policy issues involved, and developing patients and family members into spokespeople who can effectively communicate campaign messages and engage with policymakers
  • Coalition Building and Grassroots Organizing: Promote the active involvement of medical providers, community and faith leaders, civic organizations and social services providers in the medical marijuana campaign by conducting outreach and recruitment activities such as one-on-one’s and presentations to ensure understanding and support for the campaign among a diverse group of allies. Coordinate the field strategy with medical marijuana campaign partners on an ongoing basis through calls, email and in-person meetings. Track and report on interaction and engagement with advocates and organizations.
  • Event Coordination and Mobilization: Implement a range of tactics, including hearings, press conferences, rallies, protests, lobby days and in-district meetings. Turn out patients, families, healthcare providers and allies to events through mass phone banking and relationship building. Convene, craft agenda and facilitate regular membership meetings and smaller work group meetings.
  • Media and Communications: Identify patients, family members and community leaders for media and communications activities. Respond to media inquiries. Prep advocates speaking to the media. Draft op-eds, letters to the editor and quotes on behalf of advocates. Draft, review and revise campaign materials.
  • Support: The position will also be expected to provide support for all community organizing and campaigns around the drug war, mass incarceration, and HIV/AIDS within VOCAL-NY as needed. We have a highly collaborative office environment where staff members provide regular support for each other’s campaigns, which is in part a function of our limited resources and ambitious scope of work.

Requirements / Qualifications:

The ideal candidate will be an energetic, self-motivated individual who has strong inter-personal, public speaking, writing and problem solving skills. Candidates must demonstrate interest in criminal justice and drug policy reform and a willingness to approach these issues through a racial justice analysis. Candidates must have at least two years of experience in community organizing and/or related fields – campaign experience is a plus. Interest in working as a member of a team and in a fast-paced, dynamic environment is essential. Basic computer skills, including ability to use the internet, email, word processing (e.g. Microsoft Word) and spreadsheets (e.g. Excel) programs are required.


The salary range will be commensurate with experience. VOCAL-NY offers a generous benefits package of twenty days of paid vacation, 100% employer-covered health and dental insurance plan, and 403(b) retirement plan.

Equal Opportunity Statement:

VOCAL-NY is an equal opportunity employer. People of color and people who are formerly incarcerated, HIV-positive, women and/or LGBT are strongly encouraged to apply.

How to apply:

Please send a cover letter and résumé to jobs@vocal-ny.org. In the subject line, please put “Community Organizer [Your Name]”. No phone calls please. VOCAL-NY is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, people of color, people who are LGBTQ and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. We are particularly interested in hiring those who have been adversely affected by the criminal justice system and the war on drugs.

The position will remain open until filled.

Note: Only those candidates under consideration will be contacted