Job Announcement
Policy Director
American Civil Liberties of Hawai'i
Honolulu, HI            

Be Part of a Pivotal Moment in History

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii's next Policy Director is someone seeking a meaningful opportunity in a vibrant organization making profound differences in the lives of people across Hawai‘i. We take pride in our reputation of over 50 years of fighting the hard fight for people whose civil rights are challenged. And now—with continued threats to civil liberties at the national level, the increased need to develop good policy at the local level, the still-evolving impacts of the COVID crisis on civil rights, and the 400-years overdue increased awareness of the impacts of systemic racism on every element of society—it is the ideal time to join us and have a meaningful long-term impact on the future of Hawai‘i and the United States!

We are taking our organization to a new level by focusing our communications, field organizing, legal and policy firepower to pursue specific integrated advocacy campaigns in the areas of Smart Justice, Decriminalizing Poverty, and Reimagining Policing. We’re working to achieve measurable goals that will expand civil liberties and civil rights while building the long-term power of the ACLU and the civil liberties movement. 

The Policy Director plays a vital role in shaping a bold vision to protect and promote civil liberties. The right candidate will expand the reach and capacity of the ACLU of Hawai‘i to make a positive difference in policy at all government levels. The Policy Director will lead our efforts in shaping public policy to protect civil rights in Hawai‘i, while building coalitions to support and advocate for those policies. We need a strategic thinker with a passion for our mission, a vision for applying policy and legislative strategies and tactics to reach organizational goals, and a meticulous approach to conceiving and executing plans of action. This person is also a leader who will develop and achieve short and long-term goals across issue areas while spearheading policy initiatives in close coordination with our communications, field organizing, and legal teams. The position is based in Honolulu.

What you’ll do:


  • Develop an impactful legislative agenda at the county and state level–and occasionally at the federal level in coordination with the national office– that advances the ACLU of Hawaii's campaign goals and responds to emerging civil rights and civil liberties threats.
  • Identify systemic patterns of civil liberties violations, envision and design changes in policy capable of addressing them, and carry out strategies and tactics to secure those legislative changes. 
  • Recruit, hire, and supervise policy Fellows and Interns. Foster a collaborative organizational culture within the policy program that encourages staff development through internal and external resources. The policy director currently co-supervises a legal and legislative assistant, and as the organization continues to grows may also supervise a policy counsel.
  • Collaborate with ACLU of Hawai‘i colleagues to implement integrated advocacy campaigns using communications, field organizing, legal, and legislative resources, and serve as a resource on legislative and policy matters to colleagues.
  • As part of the senior leadership team, maintain an equity-minded and inclusive organizational climate and culture that is sensitive to Hawaii’s sense of place.


  • Manage all aspects of the ACLU of Hawaii's policy program, including proposing and drafting legislation, managing the legislative calendar to ensure that the affiliate’s legislative package is intentional and timely, and collaborating closely with other members of the senior leadership team in a way that informs our impact legislation.
  • Coordinate volunteer engagement for advocacy initiatives, including written and in-person testimony, phone calls, and other advocacy opportunities.
  • Oversee implementation of policy program policies, procedures, and budget.
  • Personally analyze and track legislation that affects civil liberties, draft legislation and legislative amendments, and prepare and deliver written and oral testimony.
  • Personally monitor and lobby on civil liberties issues during the state legislative interim and attend legislative hearings, workgroups and coalition meetings.
  • Design and maintain clear, quantifiable systems for tracking legislative progress.
  • Oversee the affiliate’s compliance with ethics and lobbying rules at the county, state, and federal levels.


  • Collaborate with staff to plan and implement integrated advocacy policy initiatives, involving a combination of communication, field organizing, legal, and legislative strategies.
  • Keep the Executive Director informed of significant legislative and policy developments and consult with them on priority and complex issues and resource requirements.
  • Partner with allied organizations and serve as the ACLU representative on coalitions with varied and diverse stakeholders to advance our priorities.
  • Develop equitable and reciprocal relationships with partner organizations, other advocates, and community coalitions and members.
  • Build long-term, trusted relationships with elected and appointed officials, staff, policymakers and grasstops leaders at the federal, state, and county levels.

Communications and Public Education

  • Serve as a spokesperson and make press and other public appearances for the ACLU of Hawai‘i, articulating the ACLU’s views to the public on a range of policy issues. Participate in and represent the ACLU of Hawai‘i on local and national coalitions, assuming a leadership role on important issue campaigns, while developing relationships with allies and other organizations to further advocacy goals.
  • Assist in developing communication tactics and outreach.
  • Engage in public education, including know your rights events, talk stories, membership meetings, and more.
  • Prepare advocacy materials in collaboration with senior staff, including policy reports, action alerts, talking points, issue briefs, letters, op-eds, and website materials.
  • Construct and distribute surveys to be sent to candidates for office (e.g., legislature, county councils, mayor, governor) to explain their policy positions to the public.
  • Develop and run forums for candidates for office (e.g., legislature, county councils, mayor, governor) to explain their policy positions to the public.

What you’ll need:

  • Demonstrated experience in political, legislative, or policy work, preferably in Hawai‘i.
  • Understanding of a range of civil liberties issues and commitment to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission and goals.
  • Knowledge of the legislative process at multiple levels of government, as well as the ability to think strategically and work across party lines.
  • Experience in at least one area of harm reduction.
  • Established relationships with policy makers and with social change organizations.
  • Understanding of and commitment to social change through building the capacity and power of marginalized people to support their communities and to participate directly in changing public policies.
  • Excellent advocacy, consensus-building, coalition-building, and leadership skills.
  • Experience working in coalitions, including coordinating communications and navigating political dynamics among partner groups.
  • Demonstrated analytical, research, writing and oral advocacy skills, as well as the ability to effectively articulate complex legal and policy concepts to a variety of audiences.
  • Demonstrated experience drafting and amending legislation.
  • Demonstrated initiative, vision and ability to develop and implement short and long-term legislative and policy strategies.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, keep organized in a fast-paced environment, manage simultaneous projects, and adjust strategy to changing demands.
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate with colleagues across departments.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with diverse coalitions and community groups, work across the political spectrum, and value differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstances.
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB), both in the workplace and in collaboration with community partners and constituents.
  • Demonstrated ability to recruit and manage volunteer advocates.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and nurture a positive working environment, even in high-intensity situations.
  • Ability to travel throughout the state and occasionally to the continental United States.
  • Ability to work long hours during legislative session and commute to meetings and events throughout the state, as needed.
  • Commitment to the highest ethical standards of lobbying and professionalism.

Finally, our Policy Director will bring a commitment to the mission and goals of the ACLU of Hawai‘i along with a personal dedication to a professional team that will bring us into our next 50 years as Hawaii's guardian of liberty.

Are You Ready to Help Lead Us into the Future?

If you’re excited about devoting your talents and skills to the ACLU of Hawai‘i, please submit your resume, letter of interest, and mention where you learned of this opportunity, by email, to Please include your last name and “Policy Director – Hawai‘i” in the subject line of the email. No phone calls, please. To ensure that we receive your application, please do not use any other ACLU email address.

Salary is commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU of Hawai‘i compensation scale. Excellent benefits include: generous vacation and sick leave; 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; individual/family employer-provided health insurance with 100% of premiums covered for the employee; long-term disability; defined contribution plan with employer match; paid parking; and 14 paid holidays. This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

We will accept applications until June 16, 2021 or until the position is filled, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website, We hope that one of those applications is yours.

The ACLU of Hawai‘i is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest organization, dedicated to defending and enhancing civil rights and civil liberties through litigation, legislative advocacy, organizing, and community education.

The ACLU of Hawaiʻi is committed to developing a culture of diversity, equity, respect, and inclusion and to strive to maintain a workforce that reflects the communities that we serve. The ACLU of Hawaiʻi is an equal opportunity employer that does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable law. We encourage all qualified individuals to apply and value people of all races, genders (including gender identity or expression), sexual orientations, disabilities, citizenships, ages, religions, ancestries, and national origins, and who have different marital statuses, family caregiving responsibilities, lived experiences with the criminal justice systems, credit histories, statuses as a victim of domestic and sexual violence, arrest or court record histories, and genetic information. The ACLU of Hawaiʻi does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of any of these characteristics.