Twenty-five years ago, I was released from prison to a work-release program. I spent a year sorting mail. Back then, there were these programs that helped you while you were in prison – I got training and was able to get a job when I came home. But after my year in the program, they didn’t renew me to continue working because of my felony. I had done my time and was ready to work, but I kept getting denied. Since I’ve been home, I’ve applied to many jobs. Being Black and having a felony, you don’t get hired.
I’ve been denied jobs so many times because of my record – I’ve been told that in order to get jobs I need to get my record expunged. Most of the time jobs don’t ever call me back. I never get the chance to explain my past. I’ve been out of prison for twenty-five years. I can’t find work, I’ve been mostly volunteering, at VOCAL-NY and the AIDCS Center of Queens County. The Fair Chance Act is important because I don’t want people to go through what I’m going through. I’ve done my time, now I just want the chance to work. I should be able to work and earn just as anyone else can. My felony should not prevent me from working. It’s time to separate felonies from working. Everyone deserves the opportunity to support themselves and their families.