SURJ Seeks 'Listening Project' Organizer / by khaetlyn grindell

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Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is a network of nearly 200 chapters and affiliates across the US and Canada working for racial and economic justice. We prioritize community organizing - especially in poor and working class communities, rural communities, and the US South - and run campaigns, among other change-making strategies, to: 

  • Delegitimize, discredit, and dismantle white supremacist institutions;
  • Build a fair economy that doesn’t pit communities against each other;
  • Shift underlying beliefs and culture in a way that undermines support for white supremacy.

We ground our organizing in a framework of “mutual interest” and have an inclusive, open-hearted approach to organizing, calling people into this work rather than creating barriers to participation while maintaining a clear political line. We believe that together, as part of a powerful multi-racial, cross-class movement for collective liberation we can force the systems of white supremacy and economic injustice to crumble.

The ‘Listening Project’ is a new base-building, leadership development, and campaign development initiative at SURJ. Over the course of a year we plan to engage at least 50 SURJ chapters and affiliates and talk to 5,000 people in poor and working class communities across the country with special emphasis on rural and small town communities and the South. The Listening Project Organizer will coordinate these efforts and will train and support SURJ coaches, chapter leaders, members, and staff in successfully implementing the plan. The Organizer will also be responsible for producing a report that details the lessons learned from the project. This is a one year full-time position.

Essential duties and responsibilities may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Develop strategy, infrastructure, and materials to support existing SURJ members, leaders, coaches, and chapters in successful design and implementation of the Listening Project in order to engage thousands of poor and working class people in our work, develop deep relationships with them, and support their leadership;
  • Support Listening Project leaders and chapters in local project design, implementation, data management, and evaluation;
  • Train and support Listening Project member-leaders in developing organizing skills such as door-knocking, place-based outreach, phone-banking, one-on-one’s, leadership identification, etc.;
  • Coordinate and engage an all-volunteer Listening Project planning committee comprised of member-leaders in making key decisions about process design and implementation;
  • Design and lead train -the-trainer workshops for leaders across the network who are running local listening projects;
  • Coordinate data collection systems and implement quality control measures as data is gathered;
  • Identify, recruit, invest in, and develop member-leaders through intentional leadership development. Model and cultivate these skills in chapters and with SURJ leaders.
  • Work with member-leaders, coaches, and staff to identify challenges to implementation and trouble shoot solutions;
  • Help plan a SURJ poor and working class leaders gathering to disseminate lessons learned from the Listening Project and identify next steps in organizing and campaign work;
  • Work with the organizing team to plug SURJ member-leaders into campaign work; give feedback on campaigns in order to maximize base-building efforts;

Other duties or tasks may be assigned on an as-needed basis; This position requires 25% travel.


  • At least two years experience in base-building and leadership development of members in grassroots organizing context;
  • Experience designing and leading teams through processes of campaign or action planning, execution, and evaluation
  • Experience designing and facilitating meetings, trainings, and/or group gatherings that move people to action;
  • A natural sense of curiosity about people, ability to build meaningful relationships with others, and a belief that directly impacted people are their own experts and can be a powerful force for change;
  • Willingness to sit with complexity and nuance, take risks, suggest new ideas, receive feedback, and be part of the solution;
  • Profound love and trust of the people and communities you come from and a deep desire and longing to create avenues for individual and community transformation;
  • A demonstrated commitment to racial and economic justice and to working in multiracial coalitions for larger transformative change;
  • Belief in SURJ’s Theory of Change and deep investment in grassroots organizing as a core strategy to transform this country and world;
  • Experience managing survey and/or data projects a plus;
  • Lived experience in rural communities, small towns, and in the US South a plus;
  • Flexible schedule, including some evenings and weekends, and travel. 


Salary: $50,000; Medical insurance, dental and vision; Vacation, sick, and personal time; Access to staff development funds to help support your own leadership development; This is a remote position and can be based anywhere in the US.


Send electronic cover letter, resume and three references to with the subject line ‘Listening Project Organizer’ by March 9th.

Showing Up for Racial Justice does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, parental status, or military service.