by Manuel La Fontaine
San Francisco – All Of Us Or None applauds President Obama and his administration for “Banning the Box” for federal agencies on Nov. 2. In issuing a federal personnel memorandum, the president directed that the federal government delay inquiries into a job applicant’s conviction history until later on in the hiring process.
“Today is a good day for everyone who helped develop, organize and expand Ban the Box policies in their respective areas so that the federal government could follow,” said Dorsey Nunn, co-founder of All Of Us Or None (AOUON), an organization comprised of formerly incarcerated people and their families, and the executive director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.
AOUON coined the term “Ban the Box” (BTB) and founded the BTB campaign in 2003 to end the discrimination faced by millions of people with prison records seeking employment, housing and other means to survive and thrive. BTB seeks to ban the discriminatory question that appears on employment and other applications requiring applicants to check a box if they have been either arrested or convicted in the past. The president’s memorandum – issued after years of advocacy by All Of Us Or None – marks a historic victory for the campaign.
“There are currently over 70 million people living in the United States with arrests or conviction records who are struggling to survive due to systemic discrimination we face as a population. We are grateful that our federal government recognized this publicly and did something about it,” said Hamdiya Cooks-Abdullah, another co-founder of All Of Us Or None.
“Today is a good day for everyone who helped develop, organize and expand Ban the Box policies in their respective areas so that the federal government could follow,” said Dorsey Nunn.
In collaboration with the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People and Families Movement (FICPFM) and other prominent national allies, AOUON has been in the forefront of this federal campaign, including meeting with representatives from the White House, the Department of Justice and Congress.
The president’s memorandum – issued after years of advocacy by All Of Us Or None – marks a historic victory for the campaign.
AOUON urges the president to take the next step and issue an executive order regarding contractors doing business with the federal government. This will ensure that both federal agencies and contractors do their part to eliminate unnecessary barriers to employment of people with conviction records.
“We want to be treated as human beings in America, despite our conviction records, and be able to feed, clothe and provide shelter for our families,” Nunn explains, “Let us continue working towards achieving this common sense goal and celebrating the progress we have already made towards it.”
Manuel La Fontaine, a spokesperson for All Of Us Or None, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.