African Communities Together (ACT), an organization of African immigrants fighting for civil rights, opportunity, and a better life for our families here in the U.S. and worldwide, is seeking applications and nominations for the position of New York Legal Director (NYLD). With current chapters in New York City and Washington, DC, ACT works to support and empower African immigrants to integrate socially, advance economically, and engage civically. It connects African immigrants to services, develops members into grassroot leaders, and drives action to make social change. ACT’s African immigrant membership comes from a diverse range of nationalities, cultures, and languages, is religiously diverse, majority women, and predominantly working-class and low income. ACT has three strategic focus areas, that include:
- Providing services. ACT helps African immigrants find free or low-cost assistance with immigration, jobs, and other needs. Each year it helps hundreds of African immigrants with free, high-quality immigration legal services and provides free referrals to trustworthy nonprofit and government agency partners. ACT’s staff and volunteers speak multiple languages and actively outreach to underserved African communities.
- Developing leaders. Through its Monthly Membership Meetings, Leadership Committees and trainings, ACT gives African immigrants the tools and information they need to become leaders on the issues that matter to them. Members engage with civic and political leaders, participate in political education, and plan ACT campaigns and actions.
- Creating change. ACT mobilizes African immigrant communities to speak out on the issues that affect our lives and the lives of our families. It works on the local, state, national, and international level on issues including fair immigration reform, jobs in the African community, and language access.
In response to the draconian immigration measures of the previous administration, ACT has tirelessly worked to provide and connect immigrant communities with critical resources and to fight the administration’s draconian bans that targeted ACT’s constituent communities. It has worked to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS), expand language access in New York’s language access program and led and support efforts to increase wages for thousands of workers. THE OPPORTUNITYACT’s New York based immigration legal program plays a critical role in fighting for justice and dignity for low-income African immigrants. The New York office works with a diverse, vibrant community of African immigrants, many of them from countries in West Africa. The legal department provides direct services, legal screening, litigation support, and public education campaigns for the communities it serves. At an exciting inflection point of growth and expansion, the New York Legal Director will lead the New York immigration legal program and serve as ACT’s lead on a coordinated citywide initiative, ActionNYC, which works with immigrant communities across New York’s five boroughs, connecting individuals to no-cost legal consultations, document preparation, and application assistance. The New York Legal Director will oversee a DOJ certified paralegal staff who is currently on staff and expand the team as needed to screen and manage the intake process for new clients. Specifically, the New York Legal Director should expect to engage the following core opportunities and challenges: Leadership and Team BuildingAs a seasoned leader, the New York Legal Director will oversee the screening and intake process for potential new clients at ACT. They will work closely with NY based legal staff to conduct in depth immigration legal screenings, provide application assistance to clients eligible for straightforward affirmative relief, including adjustments of status, TPS, naturalization, green card renewals, family-based visa petitions and removal of conditions for eligible lawful permanent residents. She/He/They will motivate and inspire a small and highly talented staff and establish a trusting, welcoming, rigorous, collaborative, and accountable environment for staff, clients, and the communities we serve. Partnership Development and Community BuildingThe New York Legal Director will cultivate and develop partnerships with key government agencies, funders, attorneys, law schools, and other partner organizations to build collective approaches to fight for low-income and vulnerable African immigrant communities. The New York Legal Director will work to identify and steward relationships with key stakeholders to grow and scale the New York immigration legal program’s impact. Strategic VisionWorking collaboratively with the New York Legal Director, the National Legal Director, and other senior leaders, the New York Legal Director will develop an integrated vision and strategy for the NY immigration legal program that connects legal service provision to ACT’s model of social change, including its grassroots organizing, leadership development programs, and advocacy for structural and systemic change. The New York Legal Director will develop and lead the implementation of a robust legal advocacy and education strategy for immigrant justice that reflects the unique cultural context of the African communities served at existing and new sites and that is people- and community-centered. QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATEWhile no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:
- A passion for ACT’s mission and demonstrated commitment to community-centered immigrant justice;
- Licensed attorney in good standing and eligible to practice immigration law. New York Bar admission strongly preferred;
- At least 3 years of experience of immigration legal practice, preferably with low-income clients from African countries. Experience with affirmative and defensive applications for humanitarian relief (particularly asylum), family-based applications, and naturalization applications is highly desirable;
- An emerging leadership orientation that places deep value on diverse perspectives and emphasizes the development and growth of team members and encourages learning and continued improvement;
- Experience working in partnership and collaboration with diverse groups, including legal service providers, organizers, community leaders, and other legal advocacy organizations; experience engaging with African immigrant communities and centering their experience and voices;
- A deep personal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; lived experience that informs an authentic understanding of challenges faced by vulnerable African immigrants;
- Commitment to personal and professional continuous improvement;
- A leader who is disciplined, focused, and detail-oriented, and who has experience with creating and putting in place systems for organizing and managing legal casework, while also being agile and adaptive;
- Fluency in a widely spoken African language such as Mandingo, Fula, Yoruba, Igbo, Kru or Hausa, and/or in French or Arabic, is strongly preferred; and
- Ability to succeed in a “startup” environment, including accountability to goals, ability to work independently, take on multiple roles, and prioritize. Ability to work evenings, weekends, and irregular hours when the work requires it.
The position is full-time and salaried. Salary range is $80,000 - $90,000, dependent on experience. Benefits include employer-paid health care, pension contribution, and transportation benefits. TO APPLYMore information about African Communities Together may be found at: https://africans.us. This search is being led by Julian Jackson, and Yuniya Khan of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website. African Communities Together is an Equal Opportunity Employer.Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
More information about African Communities Together may be found at: https://africans.us. This search is being led by Julian Jackson, and Yuniya Khan of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website. African Communities Together is an Equal Opportunity Employer.Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.