Wednesday, August 10, 2022 - This month members of our BOSS community joined hundreds of Californians with past convictions, their supporters, and organizations as they rallied in Sacramento at the state capitol for the 2nd Annual TimeDone Day.
At a time when communities of color are fighting to have their voices heard BOSS is developing new leaders who have personal experience in the justice system — predominantly Black and Brown men and women.
TimeDone is a nationwide membership community of almost 80,000 people living with past arrests or convictions working together to build strong families and communities by organizing to end post-conviction poverty. Since its founding, they've advocated for policies that provided more than 5 million people with an opportunity to clear an old record.
I feel today that it’s still, still haunting me. Once they see that charge, they really don’t want to know the details. It’s hard to process rejection when you’re doing the right thing. (1)
Fiani Johnson, Founder of The Araminta Ross Foundation
The notion that people who commit a felony should be branded for life is a vestige of feudal law and creates a permanent caste system in society, particularly for Black and brown people who are incarcerated at far higher rates. The word criminal has been used to dehumanize for, literally, centuries.
Jay Jordan, National Director of TimeDone and CEO of the Alliance for Safety and Justice
Why Sealing Records Matters
Proponents say about 8 million Californians have a criminal or arrest record or about one of every five state residents. A criminal record can trigger nearly 5,000 legal restrictions in California, many of which can limit job opportunities and the ability to get housing and educational opportunities, supporters said. (2)
At TimeDone Day, the Box of Collateral Consequences was unveiled, featuring over 40,000 plus legal restrictions that hinder the day-to-day lives of people with past convictions even after re-entering society—a staggering number.
We challenge you to look at these and ask yourself, "If their Time is Done, why are there still so many legal restrictions held against them?" Help us change that!
As a keynote speaker, Jay Morrison asked the crowd, "If you or your loved one’s record were wiped clean, what would happen...? Imagine if 40,000+ restrictions chaining you or your loved one down were removed, just like that."
If you don't personally know anyone in such situations, then consider the following:
In many states, if you have an old record, you cannot get a license and insurance to become a barber, sell real estate, or even own a dog walking business; you cannot volunteer at your children’s school or chaperone field trips, [and] you cannot foster a child even if you are related to the child.
Marisa Arrona, California Innovations Director of the Alliance for Safety and Justice
SB731, a law that may grant over 8 million Californians with felony convictions the option to have their records sealed, is close to being approved by state legislators. State Senator María Elena Durazo had previously proposed the bill but a serious crime committed by one individual with a record burned up the policymakers' hopes of passing the bill to aid the thousands of returning citizens who are working hard and doing the right thing.
This July, however, SB731 successfully passed the state Assembly and is now on its way to Governor Gavin Newsome's desk.
Some may think: "What if this bill causes repeat crimes?" The fact is, people previously convicted of murder, kidnapping, or rape will not be able to hide their records away, nor can registered sex offenders do so. Also, the bill does not erase the record, it simply excludes applicable convictions from background checks. The entire criminal history would still be available to judges and educational institutions.
This bill seeks to give a second chance at life to those who deserve it—a real second chance, rather than one riddled with tens of thousands of obstacles.
Just because one loses their way does not mean they're lost Forever.
Ronald Broach, Building Opportunities of Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) Associate Director of Housing
How can you support and be supported by this cause? Head to timedone.org, where you can learn more, become a member, or donate. There are no fees to become a member, and they offer free benefits "strictly tailored for people with past arrests and convictions".
Additionally, sign up to be part of the TimeDone Delegate Program to receive training and take an active role in advocating for the development of legislation. If you're in the Bay Area and are interested in joining a chapter, reach out to the Bay Area Chapter Coordinator, Succati Shaw. The program is open to anyone living with a past conviction or record, and these delegates will be crucial if we want to see a change in our community.
Unity came spreading resources from far and wide An interlocked cause that brought powerful rhythmic sounds distributed throughout the air laying out grounds!
Michelle Williams, Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) Job Developer-Retention Specialist
Over the past 8 years, BOSS has created comprehensive Neighborhood Impact Hubs, under our Reentry and Neighborhood Safety Programs banner, to bring needed resources and support to neighborhoods in East, West, and Downtown Oakland, where residents are hit hardest by decades of policy violence that produced generational poverty and created concentrated eras of violence and crime.
BOSS is fighting to change the underlying causes of systemic racism, inequity, and racially biased policies by partnering with Californians for Safety and Justice and Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership to create a statewide association of reentry organizations that influence policy design and distribution of resources.
Help Us Fight for Social Change & Justice!
Your support will help us:
Continue recruitment of Social Justice Collective Fellows
Transport participants to advocate in Sacramento 4 times a year and Washington, DC once a year
Hire facilitators to provide classes, seminars and workshops
Engage individuals and neighborhoods in get-out-the-vote activities
Connect 200 individuals to housing, employment, & health care by the end of the year
Join us for our 2nd annual Black August Block Party, where we will be providing more information about our resources, food and music, and most importantly, community. If you're interested, don't wait—click the link below to register immediately! Hope to see you there!