Mayor's Office

Reporting directly to the Mayor, the Director of Racial and Social Justice works to eliminate institutional and structural racism and its intersections with other forms of oppression, including sexism, heterosexism, classism, and ableism. The Director is responsible for organizing community-led processes to identify strategies to dismantle systemic racism and social inequality and for working with residents, community organizations, elected officials, and City staff to implement those strategies. The Director will work within the City to establish operational, management, and leadership structures rooted in racial and social justice. The Director will build a business plan for creating and ultimately leading an Office of Racial and Social Justice (RSJ), which will work within the City and the community to change the institutional and structural systems that create racial and social disparities and to achieve racial and social justice.

Essential Functions:

The essential functions or duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various type of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position.

  • Builds a business plan for creating and leading the Office of Racial and Social Justice (RSJ).
  • Provides vision and coordination to the Mayor, City Council, and City departments on racial and social justice.
  • Organizes community-led processes to identify strategies to dismantle systemic racism and social inequality.
  • Oversees implementation of policies and programs to advance racial and social justice, including the RSJ Fund, a dedicated funding source for implementing community-identified strategies to redress the impacts and deconstruct the underlying causes of racial and social injustice.
  • Works with the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Manager, the Human Resources Director, and others to build a network within City government to shift internal practices and develop decision-making skills that eliminate racial and social injustice and to transform the culture of the City toward one rooted in racial and social justice.
  • Strengthens relationships with Somerville communities most impacted by structural racism and social inequality and aligns City racial and social justice efforts with priorities identified by these communities.
  • Works with national, regional and local racial and social justice leaders from all communities and sectors to advance racial and social justice.

Education and Experience: Bachelor’s Degree in public administration, ethnic studies, social work, political science, or a related field and five to seven (5-7) years’ experience in a government, non-profit organization, or related setting with at least two (2) years of experience supervising staff and leading programs that build racial and social equity and inclusiveness; or any equivalent combination of education, training, experience, demonstrated investment and measurable performance that provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Knowledge, Abilities and Skill


  • Knowledge and understanding of the history of systemic racism and the institutions and structures that uphold it.
  • Knowledge of and experience developing and managing programs to deconstruct the underlying causes of racial and social injustice.
  • Experience managing a high-powered team using an anti-racist, pro-equity, collaborative decision-making approach.
  • Experience working with and developing partnerships between communities of color and government, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and grass-roots community groups.
  • Experience working in a variety of multicultural and multilingual settings.
  • Experience working with local or state government preferred.


  • Ability to analyze situations with a racial and social justice lens.
  • Ability to listen deeply to communities of color, synthesize knowledge, integrate into work plans, and to facilitate the integration of various community groups.
  • Ability to identify systemic racism and social inequality, address issues at their source, and lead organizational change.
  • Ability to develop collaborative, productive, and respectful relationships with leaders and other institutions and groups, including but not limited to communities of color, immigrant and refugee communities, businesses, and philanthropies.
  • Ability to synthesize complex information.


  • Strong interpersonal skills, including humor and compassion.
  • Outstanding administrative skills, including the ability to produce, track, and manage multiple deliverables with overlapping deadlines in a high-performing environment.
  • Excellent oral and written communication. Able to communicate effectively and persuasively in writing and in public speaking and presentations.
  • Excellent meeting facilitation skills.  Proven ability to foster effective community conversations and address racial and social justice issues in a clear and direct manner.
  • Demonstrated humility and commitment to continual personal and professional growth in cultural awareness and understanding    
  • Anti-racist work
  • Bilingual language skills in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian-Creole or Nepali a plus.


Work Environment

The work environment involves everyday discomforts typical of offices, with occasional exposure to outside elements.  Noise or physical surroundings may be distracting, but conditions are generally not unpleasant.  Employee may be required to work beyond normal business hours in response to attend evening meetings or complete work assignments.

Physical and Mental Requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the position’s essential functions.

Physical Skills:

Few physical demands are required to perform the work. Work effort principally involves sitting to perform work tasks, with intermittent periods of stooping, walking, and standing.  May also be some occasional lifting of objects such as office equipment and computer paper (up to 30lbs.)

Motor Skills:

Duties are largely mental rather than physical, but the job may occasionally require minimal motor skills for activities such as moving objects, operating a telephone, personal computer and/or most other office equipment including word processing, filing and sorting of papers.

Visual Skills:

Visual demands require constantly reading documents for general understanding and analytical purposes.

Application Procedure: 

This position will remain open until filled. Send your resume and cover letter to:

City Hall Personnel Office
93 Highland Avenue
Somerville MA 02143
Fax: 617-666-4426
TTY: 1-866-808-4851
Email: [email protected]

City of Somerville residents are especially encouraged to apply.

The City of Somerville is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability or any other protected category. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures will be provided to qualified individuals with disabilities free of charge, upon request.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact the City’s ADA Coordinator, Nency Salamoun, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or [email protected].

Full Time
$102,000 annual plus benefits
Application Start Date: 
Wednesday, October 14, 2020