CitySquare Advocates Visit Austin

Date: March 30, 2017

On Monday, March 20, CitySquare’s External Affairs team traveled to Austin to support Ban the Box legislation that would give Texans with criminal records a fair shot at re-entering the workforce.

Reverend Gerald Britt, who leads the External Affairs team, testified against a legislative pre-emption that would bar counties and municipalities from passing Ban the Box ordinances. Dallas County Judge Clay Lewis Jenkins recently sent a letter of support for Ban the Box legislation to Chairman Oliveira. Click here to read the letter. Reverend Britt has also sent a request to Mayor Mike Rawlings for a letter of support of the opposition of HB577.

The following is an excerpt of Rev. Britt’s testimony:

Many of the people in CitySquare’s job training programs are people who have had interactions with the criminal justice system. They come to our job training program with the hopeful expectation that they will be able to find employment. Because our program is jobs driven, we’ve been successful, some 75-80 percent of the time. But that’s because we work with employers who understand the importance of a second chance. It didn’t start out that way. At the least, many were skeptical. Some were downright reluctant.

But as those employers trusted us, they’ve found that these men and women, whose criminal infractions have ranged from murder to non-violent drug related offenses, have proved themselves to hard working citizens who only want the opportunity to leave peaceful law abiding existences. They just needed what we all need – an opportunity…this is why we support HB548…at some point the men and women who have served their time and paid their debt, deserve the opportunity to start their lives over.”

If you would like to lend your voice to the cause, visit CitySquare’s Ban the Box action page.