Understanding “Ban the Box”: Creating a Fair Chance

Friday, 3/10/17BAN-THE-BOX-employee-application-monitor 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Free & Open to All

Register online at www.hsctc.org/workshops
Borg Warner Conference Room, Tompkins County Public Library,
101 E. Green St. at S. Cayuga St., Ithaca, NY
Presented by the Diversity Consortium of Tompkins County in cooperation with the Human Services Coalition 
Co-sponsored by the Tompkins County Public Library
 
A NEW PANEL DISCUSSION FOR ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT REMOVING THE “CHECK BOX” REGARDING CRIMINAL RECORDS AND DELAYING THE BACKGROUND CHECK INQUIRY UNTIL LATER IN THE HIRING PROCESS.
 

The forum will bring together panelists from a cross-section of professions, including government, academia, law, and small business to discuss the ramifications of prematurely or illegally considering conviction information, and the role it may play in preventing people with past convictions from receiving a fair chance.

Questions will be addressed by panel members who have had experience with implementing ban the box in their work places; who have had experience with the criminal justice system; or who are working to support those who are re-entering the community and seeking to be productive citizens.
As a number of local employers are implementing “ban the box,” others are looking for more direction. Additionally, many community members are seeking guidance on how they can be part of a movement to welcome back those who have been formerly involved in the criminal justice system and to ensure that they have a fair chance to work. The Diversity Consortium of Tompkins County is sponsoring this forum to support this effort.
George Ferrari, Director, Community Foundation of Tompkins County will moderate this session.
Panelists include:
Khalil Bey, Ultimate Re-entry Opportunity Mentor Coordinator, Multicultural Resource Center
Laura Branca, Managing Partner, TFC Associates and Co-Owner of Moosewood, Inc.
Phoebe Brown, Ultimate Re-entry Opportunity Community Outreach Coordinator, Multicultural Resource Center
Amy Guererri, Commissioner of Personnel, Tompkins County Government
Jason M. Leifer, Attorney and Dryden Town Supervisor
Schelley Michell- Nunn, Director Human Services, City of Ithaca
Allan Bishop,  Associate Vice President Human Resources, Cornell University

Campus and Community Organizing for Liberation, Then and Now

Saturday, November 5th, 2016 – 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM
at The History Center in Gateway Plaza
401 E. State Street * Suite 100 * Ithaca, NY 14850

free and open to All; light refreshments served

This is the third event in the series “Sharing Our Stories of Action for Social Justice and Transformation.” This series is a partnership of The History Center, the Dorothy Cotton Institute, in collaboration with the John Henrik Clarke Africana Library. The focus has been on sharing personal narratives and oral histories that highlight the contributions of individuals in our community who have worked on a range of issues for social justice.

Our third event will address Campus & Community Organizing for Liberation, Then and Now. We will begin with a panel of activists and community leaders who will share their work for racial equity in education, Black Studies, racial justice, and the Movement for Black Lives.  After the panel, everyone will have the opportunity to share their stories of taking action. Our panelists will be Kirby Edmonds, Ms. Lucy J. Brown, and Rafael Aponte.

About the Presenters…. 

Kirby Edmonds is a Cornell graduate, long-time Ithaca resident and community organizer, educator, a partner with TFC Associates and a Senior Fellow and Program Coordinator of the Dorothy Cotton Institute.

Ms. Lucy J. Brown was born and raised in Ithaca, and her outspoken commitment to racial justice and educational equity spans decades. Ms. Brown is the mother of four children who went through the Ithaca City School District. She has served on the district’s Board of Education, as well as on the Board of Public Works. She worked at Cornell University for thirty years, and as one of the few Black employees, she readily gave her support to the student organizers of the 1969 Willard Straight occupation and the movement for Black Studies and racial equity at Cornell. She was a founding member of Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services. The Lucy J. Brown Leadership Award was established in her honor by INHS, where she continues to serve on their Board of Directors.

Rafael Aponte has a deep commitment to education, food justice, and sovereignty. Born and raised in the South Bronx, he has over twelve years of experience working as a community activist, advocate, and educator in NYC. In 2012, Rafael relocated to Tompkins County and established Rocky Acres Community Farm in Freeville, NY . The 10-acre farm focuses on education and the sustainable production of local, culturally appropriate vegetables, herbs, meat, and eggs for marginalized communities in and around Ithaca. He is currently the acting director of the Youth Farm Project in Ithaca and a member of the working group for Black Lives Matter Ithaca (BLMI).

Hope to see you there!

History Center:

phone: 607-273-8284, ext. 5

e-mail: director@thehistorycenter.net

website: www.thehistorycenter.net

 

 

Sharing Our Work for Social Change: Taking Action

Join us for the first event of a series presented by The History Center in Tompkins County and the Dorothy Cotton Institute titled “Sharing Our Stories of Action for Social Justice and Transformation.”

Series Kick-Off Event:

Sharing Our Work for Social Change: Taking Action
Saturday March 19th, 2:00 – 4:00 at The History Center in Tompkins County

(401 E. State St., Suite 100 — Gateway Plaza)

“Saturday will be the first of a series of community gatherings for sharing our personal narratives, and creating an archive of oral histories so that we can build the knowledge of how people achieve justice and effect change. No story is too short.”     Dorothy Cotton Institute

“Ithaca and Tompkins County have a long history of involvement in social movements and issues.”           The History Center

This series will encourage people in our communities to share their personal stories and oral histories that highlight individual contributions for working for social change across a broad range of issues and social movements. At this event, four panelists will share their work for change and address what they had to overcome and what sustained them. After the panel, everyone will be invited to meet in small groups to share their work for social change.

Panelists:

Carlos H. Gutierrez, Former Chilean Political Exile & Labor Community Organizer
Jhakeem Haltom,
Dean of Student Life, New Roots School

Mary Milne, Fabric Artist & Local Ribbon Coordinator, 1982-85
Joyce Muchan, Former Chair of the Ithaca LGBT Task Force

There will be future events to help community members learn from one another and to highlight that we can all choose to take action. This project will include oral histories will be captured to archive the richness of action and involvement of Tompkins County residents in a variety of social movements.

Co-sponsored by
The History Center in Tompkins County & The Dorothy Cotton Institute,
The John Henrik Clarke Africana Library & Cornell University Public Service Center

The Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County provided support for the series

For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net
or call
(607) 273-8284 x 227

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Tackling Structural Racism: What we can see early 2016

The Building Bridges initiative exists to support the growth and connectedness of a network of people and organizations working to eliminate structural racism and poverty in our county.

With that in mind, the Steering Committee has identified many local efforts that move us toward the elimination of structural racism and poverty. We also see that these efforts, although significant, are only a beginning. There is a huge amount of work still to be done.

If you know of steps towards eliminating structural racism and poverty that are not mentioned here, please share them (in informational and/or story form)

through the Building Bridges Network.

In the plus column:
Continue reading

The Human Rights Arts Competition 2015

UDHR for webThe Office of Human Rights and the Dorothy Cotton Institute present

The Human Rights Arts Competition

The Dorothy Cotton Institute is partnering with the Office of Human Rights to co-sponsor the Human Rights Arts Competition, open to all K-12 students in Tompkins County, whether in public school, private school, charter school, Montessori, or home-schooled.

Teachers and students are encouraged to explore the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to submit students’ artwork (visual, poetry or short film) expressing their understanding of one or more of the 30 articles of the UDHR . Click the link to find out details.  The Dorothy Cotton Award will be presented by Ms. Cotton to the winning poet.

Moosewood Bans the Box

BAN-THE-BOX-employee-application-monitorAcross the nation and here in Tompkins County, there is a Ban-the-Box movement to reduce barriers to employment for applicants who have a felony conviction on their record. Given the enormous number of people who have been convicted, the vast majority for non-violent crimes, employers play an important role in helping people find decent, stable employment. Other states such as Hawaii, Ohio, Oregon, Massachusetts, California and N.J., and municipalities such as Orlando, NYC,  and the City of Rochester have passed Ban the Box Ordinances. In June of 2015, NYC went beyond banning the felony box on applications for jobs in city government, and now prohibits both public and private employers from asking questions about felony convictions during the initial employment application process.

As a business that has employed a lot of people over 42 years and values fairness in employment, this seemed like something important for us at Moosewood Restaurant. In our case, we were actually using the same old boiler-plate application for years; I looked at it and there was the question: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony? If yes, please indicate which charges may be relevant to the position you are seeking.”  All we needed was to agree that this was an unnecessary barrier, and we revised the application and deleted the question. Simple.

banbox_196There are multiple steps in a hiring process, and employers may ask about prior convictions at later stages. In some cases employers must ask about felonies up front if it’s relevant to the position the candidate is seeking, for instance, as a police officer or as a childcare worker.

In N.J…

“Unless one of the limited exceptions applies, an employer cannot make any inquiry—either verbally or in writing, including in an employment application—about an applicant’s criminal record during the “initial employment application process” (IEAP).  Once the IEAP is complete, an employer can make inquiries about an applicant’s criminal history”

Ban the Box laws and policies don’t require the employer to hire a particular applicant, but one of the goals is to reduce recidivism among qualified people who happen to have a record and to help people who could be fine employees make it through the application screening process. The Obama Administration’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force gave the movement a boost when it endorsed hiring practices “which give applicants a fair chance and allow employers the opportunity to judge individual job candidates on their merits.”

We encourage other businesses and institutions in Tompkins County to adopt Ban the Box policies. Whether one is a small business owner, manager, department head or human resource director, employers understandably have important questions.

These links may be helpful:

Huge Success–the Building Bridges Community Forum

On May 13, 202 people attended a Community Forum to learn about Collective Impact processes creating big successes in various communities, and possible “big results” we might want to work on in Tompkins County.

Here is a link to the presentation slides:

Building Bridges Forum CI presentation

Highlights from the feedback include:

Of the 119 evaluations we received:
41 organizations asked to be added to the Building Bridges Coalition list *
100+ new people have joined the Building Bridges Network listserve
96% of you said you learned more about Collective Impact
96% of you said that CI is a direction that we should pursue as a community
97% of you said the time was worthwhile
89% of you said you would do your work differently as a result of the time we spent together.

Once again, a big THANK-YOU to
  • GreenStar staff support, use of The Space and coffee, tea, fruit salad, yogurt and  pastries
  • MRC for the mini-bagels
  • GIAC for the cheese, crackers and cookies
  • Ithaca Bakery for the pastries
  • Moosewood Restaurant for the Brownies and Vegan Chocolate Cake
  • CCE staff for stuffing packets
  • Park Foundation for supporting this intro to Collective Impact

*If you would like your organization added, please contact Kirby Edmonds at 607/277-3401