Chicago — Chicago Votes is growing their Unlock Civics work and team, hiring formerly incarcerated individuals for their Civic Leaders program. Chicago Votes' Unlock Civics initiative aims to break down barriers people impacted by the American legal system face to engaging in democratic processes. Through the Civic Leaders program, formerly incarcerated people will be supporting Unlock Civics programming which includes participating in the Cook County Jail Voter Registration and Court Watching Programs, policy implementation work, and virtual advocacy.
Stevie Valles, Chicago Votes' executive director, explains, "Chicago Votes works to give political voice to people who experience incarceration. For our work to truly represent the perspective of those we seek to empower, it is vital that it be led by people who have experienced incarceration. Many agree that incarceration should not be the means by which someone's rights as a citizen be stripped away, but few truly grasp the gravity of this fight like our loved ones who have been incarcerated themselves. The Civic Leaders program is an opportunity for growth, not only for people who have been incarcerated, but for all of us as we aim to redefine what it means to be a leader to begin with."
The Chicago Votes' Civic Leaders program is a contracted position that is designed for people who have been incarcerated in the U.S., specifically in Illinois. This is a part-time position (20 hours/week) paid at $25/hr. The program runs from Monday, March 8th- Friday, November 19th, 2021 (Dates subject to change). Applications will be accepted until Wednesday, February 17th.
"As our Unlock Civics Program starts to grow, so does the voice and leadership of those directly impacted by the American Legal System. Our Civic Leaders program is designed to give young people who have been recently released from prison an opportunity to develop their organizing and leadership skills. Ideal candidates are passionate about dismantling barriers to civic engagement for those that are/have been incarcerated," explains Alex Boutros, Chicago Votes' community organizing manager.
Chicago Votes supports and fosters leadership from underrepresented communities. They strongly urge formerly incarcerated people, womyn, LGBTQIA, people of color, and folx from immigrant communities to apply.
Chicago Votes is a non-partisan, non-profit organization working at the intersection of activism, education, and politics in order to make democracy more inclusive, just, and accessible. Through their three initiatives— Parade to the Polls, Give A Sh*t, and Unlock Civics— Chicago Votes is engaging and developing a new generation of leaders by opening the doors of government and politics to young people from all corners of the city. Their Unlock Civics initiative, specifically, Unlock Civics initiative encompasses their Cook County Jail Votes initiative, Court Watching program, Civics in Prison, and Unlock Civics legislative efforts— all of which work at the intersection of organizing and advocacy to ensure that people affected by the American legal system know their civic rights and responsibilities.