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Nov 5, 2015

NCBCP Praises President Obamas Executive Action To "Ban the Box"

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NATIONAL COALITION ON BLACK CIVIC PARTICIPATION PRAISES PRESIDENT OBAMA'S EXECUTIVE ACTION TO “BAN THE BOX”

Banning the Box Great Step in Providing Returning Citizens a Second Chance to Succeed in Life

(Washington, DC) - The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) , the nation’s largest black- led civic engagement and empowerment organization, endorsed President Obama’s executive action to ban federal employers from asking about applicants’ criminal histories on their initial application forms. The executive action will apply to federal government employers but not contractors for the government.

“The President’s action is a major step in building on his commitment to providing our young men and women a second chance to succeed in life by giving returning citizens a fair opportunity to find gainful employment,” said Melanie Campbell, NCBCP president and CEO. “The National Coalition remains a strong supporter of the “Ban the Box” Movement and encourages other employers to stop this discriminatory practice and remove references to criminal histories from their job application forms.

About 60-to-75% of former inmates cannot find work within their first year out of jail, according to the Justice Department, that has an adverse impact on recidivism rates for returning citizens. Campbell shares, The National Coalition adopted banning the box on its job application years ago. In addition, two of the NCBCP's Black Youth Vote! staff members have personal ties to the issue----Daniel Bradley and Sherman Justice.

Daniel Bradley, Black Youth Vote & Black Male Initiatives Program Coordinator, NCBCP, was raised by a father who served time in prison.“As a son of a formerly incarcerated father, I personally know the value of giving second chances. I watched my father transform his life and witnessed him assist other returning citizens successfully re-enter society. But the hardest part of that process is a barrier caused by a tiny box, a box that highlights a persons mistake before an employer can get to know the person behind it and see their ability to be an asset to the company, “ Bradley said adding, “ Think of all the great men, Martin L King, Jr, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela that would've had to check that box. Let's not let a box, block positive transformation,”.

Sherman Justice, BYV Black Male Initiatives Fellow, NCBCP, is a a returning citizen. “After moving to DC 3 years ago, after serving 5 years in prison in Ohio, I moved here broken, and yet optimistic because I had heard that there were opportunities for returning citizens in the nation’s capital, Yet, every job that I applied for in D.C. had that box on it, and every time I saw that tiny box on an application I was a step closer to giving up. If it wasn’t for organizations like the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the Reentry Network for Returning Citizens that believe in second chances, I would probably be doing the same things that landed me in prison. This legislation passed here in DC but in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio many of the young people I grew up with and served time with don’t have the same opportunities that I’ve been blessed with here in DC. Many end up back in prison or killed on the streets."

The National Coalition is committed to continuing to work with our allies leading the Ban the Box Movement including Color of Change, LCCHR, National Action Network, NAACP, NAACP LDF, PICO and others. Campbell shares, "as an employer of an organization that fights for civil rights, economic and social justice, it is our responsibility to not just talk the talk, but, walk the walk by giving returning citizens that second chance at a life."

The National Coalition, founded in 1976, creates and enlightens communities by building institutional capacity that provides and develops leadership. By educating, motivating, organizing, and mobilizing Black communities, the National Coalition seeks to encourage full participation in a barrier-free democratic process. The National Coalition works to expand, strengthen, and empower communities to make voting and civic participation a cultural responsibility and tradition. The Black Women's Roundtable (BWR) serves as the women and girls empowerment arm of The National Coalition. BWR promotes health and wellness, economic security and sustainability, education and global empowerment. Black Youth Vote! (BYV) is the youth civic leadership development, civic engagement and Black Male Initiatives arm of The National Coalition

For more information go to www.ncbcp.org.

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