The Ban the Box, or Fair Chance, movement is sweeping the nation as civil rights advocates fight for the right of people that have paid their debt to society, but have a difficult time supporting themselves because their conviction. Unfortunately, people of color and poor people from all walks of life, are unfairly harmed by their criminal record. Of course, the Drug War is a huge culprit in keeping people of color, and poor people in general, mired in the system and in poverty. Oregon’s Ban the Box law takes effect on January 1, 2016, and I was so happy to see that my congressman, Earl Blumenauer was joining forces with other prominent legislators to take the fight national, to the Halls of Congress:
I encourage everyone to contact their federal representatives to urge them to join this important fight. Also, if you can urge your local and state legislators to pass similar legislation if they haven’t already. Everyone should be judged on their merits and not discounted immediately because of their criminal conviction, especially if it is a nonviolent drug offense that didn’t hurt anyone. Employers are still free to conduct background checks, but Ban the Box legislation allows everyone to be considered for the job and not discounted immediately. We are all better off if everyone has an opportunity to rise out of poverty. So please, join the national campaign and make your voice heard.