BEYOND BARS: CONQUERING THE STIGMA OF CRIMINAL RECORDS
Tuesday, June 28, 5pm-8:30pm
Location: Friends Center, 1501 Cherry St, Phila PA 19102
In the age of Mass Incarceration, if you don’t have a criminal record chances are you know someone who does. It is estimated that somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 Philadelphians have a criminal history record. Due to the stigma that surrounds these records, they are often used to deny people the opportunity to participate fully in our society. As a result, we often deny our neighbors the chance to fully contribute to the detriment of our own communities.
On the evening of June 26th, Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity will host an event to highlight what returning citizens and those with criminal records have to offer when given the opportunity.
The event will include:
– An address from former Juvenile Lifer Luis “Suave” Gonzalez (YouTube)
– Panel of our neighbors who continue to succeed in spite of their records
– A pop-up art exhibit featuring artwork by individuals currently and formerly incarcerated artists
– Informational tables featuring organizations that provide opportunities to those with criminal records
Please join us to hear from the people and organizations breaking down the stigma surrounding criminal records. This event is free and open to the public. You can RSVP via Eventbrite here. More details and updates will be posted on our Facebook page here.
DIY EXPUNGEMENT CLINICS
Saturday, 11am-1pm: May 26, June 30, July 14
Thursday, 6pm-8pm: August 2, August 23
Location: 3939 Warren St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
This Summer Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) is partnering with The People’s Emergency Center to offer Do It Yourself Expungement Clinics. At these clinics, interested community members affected by the maintenance of criminal history record information will join PLSE staff and volunteers to learn about the creation, dissemination and destruction of criminal records. Participants will create expungement petitions, which can be filed in court to destroy these records and the barriers they create to employment, education, housing, volunteer opportunities, and any other opportunity that one can imagine.
Too often criminal history record information (a record of the actions that the criminal justice system has chosen to take against a person) is used to replace personal history (who someone is as a person). Our DIY Expungement Clinics are designed to assist people in creating the expungement petitions necessary to liberate them from the long lasting burden of a criminal record. However, our goal goes well beyond simply destroying harmful records. Our mission is to empower people by giving them knowledge they can share with family, friends and acquaintances who are similarly affected, while connecting people from different neighborhoods and backgrounds to create a greater sense of shared community. In this way, we hope that the impact of these clinics will reach well beyond the classrooms and computer labs in which they are held.