Monday, September 22, 2014

The Ban the Box Campaign... Or as we're calling it, "The FAIR CHANCE Campaign"


Ban the Box (BTB) is a campaign that was first started by the organization All Of Us Or None, and is an attempt to convince employers, housing providers, educational institutions, etc. to “ban the box” that applicants are instructed to check if they’ve ever been arrested, have a criminal history, or have been convicted of a felony. We know from research that these boxes have several negative impacts: 1) people with such backgrounds are often discouraged from applying at all, 2) even when they do apply, their applications usually go immediately into the ‘reject’ pile, meaning that 3) good people are passed up for opportunities, and 4) because people of color are disproportionately taken advantage of by the criminal “justice” system, they are more likely to be negatively impacted by such policies. Further, recidivism rates are considerably higher for individuals returning from incarceration who are unable to gain housing and employment, and researchers estimate that the public loses about $65 million every year in would-be income taxes and further incarceration costs as a result of such policies. Find more information athttp://www.nelp.org/page/content/banthebox/.

CUAMI and our partners in this campaign are pursuing a BTB campaign (entitled the “Fair Chance Campaign”) targeting private employers and housing providers to sign a pledge to either remove the box from their applications or never to use such a box in the future. Such a campaign allows us to a) start a dialogue with employers and housing providers around the impacts of such boxes on their applications as well as the larger implications of mass incarceration, potentially pulling them into mass incarceration resistance work b) plug into the campaign newer members and allies to gain meaningful organizing experience, c) gather stories and testimony to push a BTB initiative at the citywide level for Denver municipal employees, and d) meet immediate needs of our community by connecting pledge signers with local citizens reentering society as well as organizations that work in re-entry services.

Our first Pledge Collector Training is this Thursday, Sept. 25th from 6-9pm at 1980 Dahlia Street in Denver (corner of Dahlia and Montview) at the offices of Together Colorado inside the Montview Presbyterian Church. Dinner will be provided, as will childcare (email comicoalition@gmail.com by 6pm on Sept. 24th to let us know if you'll need childcare so we can get a proper head count). ALL ARE WELCOME, SO COME AND BRING YOUR FRIENDS!!

If you’re interested in helping out with the campaign, would like to get trained but are unavailable this Thursday evening, or would like more information, email comicoalition@gmail.com!

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