by Dominik Taylor, Staff Attorney, Root & Rebound
Oakland – One in three Americans has a criminal record. Each one faces 44,000 documented legal barriers in the United States, across every area of life. This two-day Summit will empower formerly incarcerated people and their families to defy the odds in the face of barriers to higher education, employment and economic opportunity.
On April 19-20, Bay Area community members and groups representing a wide range of stakeholders, including students with criminal records and their families, higher education program administrators, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and other elected officials, local employers Checkr and Uber, workforce development professionals, and social service agencies will gather to discuss barriers to education and employment for students with records and learn about opportunities for record clearing, advocacy, empowerment and coalition building.
Root & Rebound, Street Scholars and over 30 community partners want to ensure that a criminal record is NOT a life sentence by providing students and families with the information and tools they need to reach their self-defined educational and professional goals. Access to higher education, financial aid, support services and employment is critical for all students, and particularly for students with prior justice system involvement.
This Summit seeks to empower local community members and their families to understand the roadblocks in reentry, learn ways to navigate the legal barriers, and connect students to local employers committed to fair chance hiring.
This two-day Summit will empower formerly incarcerated people and their families to defy the odds in the face of barriers to higher education, employment and economic opportunity.
Without a formal system in place to support people returning to their communities from prison and jail, it is the family who often steps in to provide housing, job support, resources and encouragement. Students and attendees directly impacted by the justice system will receive a free copy of Root & Rebound’s newest publication, the Family and Children’s Toolkit, a resource guide to support family members to work alongside their incarcerated loved one in preparing for release and reentry.
The Summit is Wednesday and Thursday, April 19 and 20, at Merritt College, 12500 Campus Drive, Oakland, in the Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale Student Lounge, and all formerly incarcerated students, community members and their families are invited. While the event has a special focus on students, we invite ALL people with records and their families to attend and participate, as well as allies in the community, including service providers, educators, employers, attorneys and workforce development programs.
Ample opportunities for education, networking, relationship building, and tabling for local organizations serving people directly impacted will be provided. Featured speakers and events include family activist Mia Birdsong, community activist Watani Stiner, Merritt College President Dr. Marie-Elaine Burns, Peralta Community College District Chancellor Dr. Jowel C. Laguerre and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
The Summit is Wednesday and Thursday, April 19 and 20, at Merritt College, 12500 Campus Drive, Oakland, in the Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale Student Lounge, and all formerly incarcerated students, community members and their families are invited.
“Life After Life,” a coming of age story set in the aftermath of childhood trauma, violence and incarceration by filmmaker Tamara Perkins will be screened. RSVP to the Summit here: http://bit.ly/empowerment_summit. To learn more Root & Rebound is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @rootandrebound.