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Community Development Organizer – Disability and Racial Justice


Careers at Access Living

Position: Community Development Organizer – Disability and Racial Justice

Position Snapshot:

The Disability and Racial Justice Community Organizer works in base-building, recruitment and disability-centered leadership development of grassroots leaders of all ages, particularly disabled Chicagoans of color, through organizing our community group Advance Your Leadership Power (AYLP)

  • $50,000-$53,000 starting salary
  • Hybrid work environment – In office two days per week, three remote, with flexible bank of additional remote work days to use throughout the year as desired.

Basic Function:

The Disability and Racial Justice Organizer will focus on development and implementation of community organizing campaigns on issues related to disabled people of color. This position is responsible for base-building, recruitment and disability-centered leadership development of grassroots leaders of all ages, particularly disabled Chicagoans of color, through organizing our community group Advance Your Leadership Power (AYLP). For nearly twenty years, AYLP has organized at the forefront of disability justice issues, and is well known for its signature campaign on the Community Emergency Services and Supports Act (CESSA). AYLP is part of the Access Living coalition Power to the People (PTP). The Disability and Racial Justice Organizer will play a significant role in developing AYLP’s next campaign.

Specific Duties:

  • Campaign Development: Support AYLP leaders in developing new campaigns for community change. Gather input from leaders and help them shape their issue ideas towards a timeline and key campaign goals, using an array of appropriate tactics that actively empower/include all members. Ensure that the AYLP campaigns are consistent with Access Living’s mission and AYLP’s core goals, in coordination with the Advocacy Manager;
  • Base Building: With the goal of representation of diverse disability and racial/ethnic communities, recruit new grassroots leaders for AYLP through a combination of virtual and in-person approaches.
  • Training and Leadership Development: Train people with disabilities on disability movement lens and racial justice struggles, including building organizing skills on everything from team dynamics and campaign planning to rallies and direct action;
  • Coalition Building: Increase AYLP’s power by building and cultivating and sustaining relationships with community groups and advocacy organizations to create broad coalition support for disability rights and disability justice issues; 
  • Internal Collaboration: Coordinate with other Access Living departments as needed, to recruit members for AYLP as well as to effectively support disabled Chicagoans of color. Employ resourcefulness and community partnerships to support Access Living’s consumers as needed;
  • Community Education/Outreach: Conduct popular education efforts around disability and racial justice issues, including through the use of media; provide internal and external workshops as needed;
  • Support CESSA Implementation: Provide support to the ongoing implementation work of CESSA, including engaging grassroots leaders in public comment/feedback opportunities.
  • Miscellaneous Duties: Conduct regular written project reports; ensure compliance with grant requirements through regular data entry; act as a spokesperson for Access Living on disability and racial justice issues as assigned; and execute any other duties as assigned.

Education and Training:

Bachelor’s degree or applicable life/work experience. Good communication skills, both for public presentations and written reports. Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, especially Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Proficiency in Google shared documents and video platforms including but not limited to Zoom, Webex, etc.


Experience (3-5 years) in community organizing strongly preferred. Knowledge of disability and racial justice issues, and/or independent living philosophy is strongly preferred. A basic understanding of social media is strongly preferred. Disabled people of color strongly encouraged to apply.

Physical Demands:

Must be able to travel extensively within the City of Chicago, as well as occasional travel outside of Chicago.

Equipment Operated:

Computers, copier, scanner

Working Environment:

Access Living operates under a hybrid office plan. Staff members are required to come into the office two days out of every week and may work remotely the other three if they so choose.

Access Living’s office environment is one of shared workspace with individual cubicles.

Access Living requires all staff members to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, including a booster shot.

Professional Affiliations:


No. of Employees Directly Supervised:

None, though this position may supervise interns from time to time

Supervised By:

Manager of Organizing and Community Development


$50,000 – $53,000

How to Apply:

Applicants should send BOTH a cover letter and resume/CV to mgarcia@accessliving.org

People with lived experience of disability, people with first-hand experience with the criminal justice system, people of color, people who are LGBTQIA*, immigrants, and others from underrepresented groups strongly encouraged to apply.