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CLOSED: Policy Associate

By 15 August 2023October 2nd, 2023No Comments
NAKASEC VA staff and community members standing in a circle

The Policy Associate supports promoting Hamkae Center’s grassroots advocacy work, particularly on education equity, with community members, elected officials, school leadership, coalitions, and other stakeholders. In this role, you will build relationships with community members, maintain relationships with a range of stakeholders, co-develop and present Hamkae Center’s policy priorities, and help advance strategic solutions to systemic problems for Asian Americans in Virginia.


Education equity advocacy (50%)

  • Promote Hamkae Center’s education policy agenda, as informed by community members, This includes, but not limited to, providing in-person testimony, creating public-facing briefing materials, and holding meetings with legislators and other local/state officials to raise awareness
  • Train Asian American community members to give testimony, speak with legislators, and take related actions to advance and protect equity in Virginia’s K12 schools 
  • Collect and share stories in public-facing media (social media, news articles, op-eds, etc.) about Asian American experiences and demands for change in Virginia’s public K12 schools 
  • Stay abreast on what’’s happening in the field of education equity  

Virginia legislative advocacy support (30%)

  • During the annual Virginia General Assembly Regular Session – participate as part of a team to track and report on bills, move community members to action, engage in grassroots lobbying activities, and assist with planning and implementing Hamkae Center’s annual day of action in Richmond
  • Co-facilitate meetings between community members and state legislators to discuss potential legislative solutions
  • Collaborate with the NAKASEC Action Fund on non-electioneering advocacy activities and maintain compliance
  • Represent Asian American Virginian interests at relevant stakeholder events

Teamwork (20%)

  • Collaborate with Hamkae Center teams (such as the Organizing and Civic Engagement Teams) to create dynamic activities that move community members to action on a variety of issues (such as immigrant health access and language justice)
  • Read and report out relevant news on education in Virginia and its impact on Hamkae Center’s work and political environment during weekly staff meetings
  • Regularly maintain database contacts for Hamkae Center’s community members and constituents – especially for the education equity issue
  • Participate in organization-wide shared duties and expectations for full-time employees as assigned
    • These can include (but are not limited to) participating in outreach events, supporting non-partisan election protection activities on Election Day, promoting fundraising opportunities, and co-facilitating collaborative meetings

Key Skills & Qualifications

  • Mission Alignment: Believes in social justice and that Asian Americans in Virginia have the power to make systemic changes that benefit our collective future 
  • Strategist’s mind: Quickly grasps complex issues and identifies patterns in challenges. Comes up with insightful, pragmatic, and sustainable ways to tackle common challenges and make positive change. Can take a concept from idea to implementation and make sure no one is left behind
  • Vision and goal-setting: Adapts to the evolving needs of the organization and thinks 3 (or 30) steps ahead to develop solutions that achieve goals in their realm. Strong sense of ownership and resilience
  • Resourceful: Leverages resources to creatively solve problems. Proposes solutions to issues without much guidance, but isn’t afraid to ask questions. Proactively asks for help, anticipates problems, and course-corrects where needed
  • Coach and learning mentality: Helps others grow. Uses coaching and feedback to develop others and support independent problem-solving. Sees mistakes as learning opportunities. Seeks and engages well with feedback
  • Clear, precise, and compassionate communication: Speaks clearly on behalf of the organization and advocates for/with community members. Communicates well with others, including sharing context and asking questions to understand others’ perspectives
  • Produces compelling written and digital materials: Aims for accuracy and attention to detail. Can learn, internalize, and incorporate our “voice” across platforms and modalities. Organizes and shares information effectively — whether writing an internal email, presenting in a coalition, or giving a public comment
  • Reliable: Self-motivated and able to develop and move projects forward; has consistent access to internet; possesses a valid driver’s license and access to an insured vehicle

Preferred (not required):  

  • Keenly aware of the power of language and representation: Uses references and examples that speak to the experiences of a diverse audience, particularly the communities we aim to reach
  • Proactively reads and recognizes patterns in the news: Stays up-to-date in an ever-changing political environment and can recognize the impact to our work
  • Background: prior knowledge of or experience in Virginia’s legislative or political environment. 
  • Legislative experience: Has direct experience or knowledge of the Virginia state legislative process, or local municipal process
  • Understanding of social media: Can leverage social media as a strategic tool, but not a make-or-break
  • Bilingual skills: Asian languages – preference for Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Urdu, Hindu, and common South Asian languages

Additional Details

Location: hybrid (primarily virtual with some in-person work required in Richmond, VA and Northern Virginia)
Job Type: full-time
Reports to:  Policy & Communications Team Lead
Pay + Benefits: $50K (commensurate w/ experience). Full health, dental, and vision insurance.  401(k) matching. Also, paid time off, vacation, sick days (if you, a partner, or a family member are sick), and other leave time customized to your unique circumstances. We close the first week of July and December 25 – January 1 for reflection and rejuvenation.

To Apply Applications are closed.

Send resume to Zowee Aquino ( with the subject “Policy Associate Application – [First Name] [Last Name].” Priority deadline is 11:59pm on August 21, 2023.

Required supplement: submit a written sample about your interest in this role, why you want to advance Asian American Virginians, and your perspective on Asian American participation (whether positive, negative, or neutral) in the current social and/or political landscape. Ground your perspective in at least 1 specific social issue, policy, campaign, movement, court case, or other case example.

This sample should be no more than 1-page and written in a clear, readable font. No additional format parameters (margins, spacing, font size, etc.).

About Hamkae Center

Hamkae Center organizes Asian Americans in Virginia to achieve social, economic, and racial justice. Through community organizing, public policy advocacy, civic engagement, and youth leadership development, Hamkae Center works to build a future in which low- and middle-income, immigrant, people of color, and marginalized communities can fully participate in U.S. society and work together as makers of lasting change. We are the Virginia affiliate of the NAKASEC Network. Other members include HANA Center (Illinois), Woori Center (Pennsylvania), MinKwon Center for Community Action (New York), and Woori Juntos (Texas).

Hamkae Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer. People from a wide range of backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. We are committed to a diverse workplace and supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities.