500 signatures reached
To: Atlanta's City Council
TELL THE ATLANTA CITY COUNCIL END COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES FOR A FAIR SHOT AT A SECOND CHANCE
Collateral consequences make justice-impacted people the fastest-growing homeless and unemployed population in Atlanta. They need second chances and a justified reentry into society. Collateral consequences punish people after they have done their time and take away their rights by imposing sanctions that can impact their access to housing, benefits, and jobs.
We demand that Atlanta City Council update the city’s Bill of Rights to include justice-impacted people as a protected class.
Why is this important?
As a justice-impacted person, I know from personal experience — and from the stories of friends and peers — how felony convictions impact our daily lives. It is very hard to reestablish yourself financially after jail or prison and to overcome society’s resistance to returning citizens.
I live in Georgia, a state that allows private employers to learn about our incarceration history yet rarely gives us a chance to talk about who we really are as disenfranchised people before rejecting our job applications. We rarely are given a second chance. Many laws prevent people with felony convictions from getting accounting, banking, nursing and real estate licenses. Even when we get a job, we have been denied advancement within the company because of stigma. We deserve second chances.
Black women have a higher rate of unemployment and homelessness than any other demographic group of formerly incarcerated people. Their children also are systematically restricted and excluded like their justice-impacted parents. In addition to being denied professional licenses, we also are unable to get driver’s licenses in some localities. We also are denied the right to be a parent or to be a caretaker for disabled children and elderly parents.
Last October, Atlanta's City Council took a step to ensure the most vulnerable citizens are protected under city ordinance. But Atlanta's City Council has the power to take the next step toward an equitable Atlanta by updating the city's Bill of Rights to include justice-impacted people as a protected class and ultimately improve the lives of more than 44,000 people.
We've served our time. Help us give justice-impacted people a second chance in Atlanta. Sign this petition and tell Atlanta’s City Council to pave the way for our second chances without suffering the discriminatory effects of collateral consequences.