The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the country’s first and foremost civil and human rights law organization. Founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, who subsequently became the first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice, LDF was launched at a time when the nation’s aspirations for equality and due process of law were stifled by widespread state-sponsored racial inequality. From that era to the present, LDF’s mission has been transformative–to achieve racial justice, equality, and an inclusive society.

LDF’s litigation, policy advocacy, organizing, and public education programs in the substantive areas of criminal justice, economic justice, education and political participation seek to ensure the fundamental and basic human rights of all people to quality education, economic opportunity, the right to vote and fully participate in democracy, and the right to a fair and just judicial system.

This position will be split between LDF’s Equal Protection Initiative and the Pro-Truth Initiative and housed in the Strategic Initiatives Department.

The Equal Protection Initiative (EPI) is a new initiative housed within the Strategic Initiatives Department, aimed at fully realizing the U.S. Constitution’s promise of equal protection under law by safeguarding, expanding, and deepening efforts to remove and remediate barriers to opportunity for Black people in the economy, our educational systems, and other areas through race-conscious and race-neutral means. Since its inception more than 80 years ago, LDF has been at the forefront of shaping the legal meaning of equal protection under the U.S. Constitution, most notably through its watershed victory in Brown v. Board of Education. However, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, opponents of civil rights have escalated their attacks on programs that advance equal opportunity, including by attempting to change the interpretation of the equal protection clause and anti-discrimination law.  LDF launched EPI to defend and advance the proper interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause and anti-discrimination law to ensure that we can all continue to advance equal opportunity for all.

The Pro Truth Initiative, which is also housed within the Strategic Initiatives Department, seeks to carry out the legacy of Brown to ensure that our PK-12 public education systems, as well as higher education, provide an equitable, inclusive, and diverse learning environment and an accurate, truthful, and inclusive curriculum reflective of the perspectives and experiences of all people, but especially Black people and others who have been historically marginalized and excluded. 

As of March 7, 2022, LDF transitioned to a hybrid work environment. Any candidate selected for this position should be prepared to work in the office location assigned at least two days per week

Responsibilities:

  • Identify, develop, and implement legislative and policy reform strategies at the federal, state, and local levels, consistent with EPI and Pro-Truth’s substantive priorities and in collaboration with the Policy Department;
  • Conduct policy and other forms of research in the areas of racial justice, equal protection, civil rights, educational equity, economic justice, health equity, and the First Amendment;  
  • Assist with building and/or participating in national, state, and local coalitions, partnerships, and task forces working to ensure equitable and inclusive K-12 and higher education learning environments and to advance race-conscious and race-neutral means to remove and remediate barriers of opportunity for Black people;
  • Monitor and respond to developing issues in proposed federal, state and local legislation or agency action;
  • Identify, secure and prepare for opportunities for LDF to influence legislation and policy at the federal level, including commenting on proposed legislation and rules, submitting statements and letters, preparing advocacy materials, and organizing and conducting meetings with elected and administrative officials and their staff;
  • Draft and deliver legislative testimony at the federal, state, and local levels;
  • Participate in and/or organize briefings with Members of Congress, state and local legislators, and federal or state agency officials on LDF’s substantive priorities;
  • Work collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams of LDF attorneys, organizers, policy advocates, communications specialists, and researchers to advance national, state, and/or local efforts to ensure equitable and inclusive K-12 and higher education learning environments and to advance race-conscious and race-neutral means to remove and remediate barriers of opportunity for Black people;
  • Work collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams of LDF attorneys, organizers, policy advocates, communications specialists, and researchers to write, publish, and widely disseminate research and policy briefs, fact sheets, talking points, infographics, reports, and other documents that will educate target audiences, including legislators, agency officials, stakeholders, and the general public about efforts to ensure equitable and inclusive K-12 and higher education learning environments and to advance race-conscious and race-neutral means to remove and remediate barriers of opportunity for Black people and propose solid recommendations for change;
  • Assume a leading and strategic role in national, state or local coalition campaigns on federal advocacy issues consistent with LDF’s priorities;
  • Other duties as requested by the Managers of the Equal Protection Initiative and Pro-Truth Initiative, the Director of Strategic Initiatives, the Director of Policy, or other members of LDF’s Senior Leadership Team; and
  • Other responsibilities as assigned.

Qualifications:

  • Juris Doctor or other advanced degree strongly preferred;
  • At least three years of experience in policy reform or advocacy at the federal, state, or local level in the areas of  economic justice, education, and/or health/reproductive justice;
  • Excellent research, writing and public speaking skills;
  • A demonstrated commitment to civil rights and racial justice;
  • Ability to work with coalitions of organizations, community members/leaders, and public officials;
  • Ability to think and plan strategically regarding complex policy reform efforts involving multiple issues and parties;
  • Ability to work independently and on teams; and
  • Ability to travel.

This is not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, skills, efforts or requirements or working conditions associated with the job. While this is intended to be an accurate reflection of the current job, management reserves the right to revise the job or to require that other or different tasks be performed as assigned. This description does not constitute a contract of employment and LDF may exercise its employment-at-will rights at any time.

Please note that LDF requires all employees to be fully vaccinated, including a booster shot against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Accordingly, successful candidates must be fully vaccinated, including the booster shot against COVID-19, and submit proof of vaccination prior to the commencement of employment unless they qualify for a reasonable accommodation for bona fide medical or religious reasons.

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The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to you without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, age, veteran status, medical condition or disability, genetic information, gender identity, or any other protected status under federal, state, or local law.

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