January , 2019

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CHICAGO, IL – The Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ), a community-based group that organizes unemployed, low wage and formerly incarcerated Black workers to fight for access to good jobs, better working conditions, and higher wages, will host a forum on employment discrimination against the formerly incarcerated on Wednesday August 7th at 6 p.m. at Salaam Restaurant, located at 700 West 79th Street in Chicago.

For the past six months the WCRJ has been running a campaign in Illinois called Ban The Box, which is an effort to get the question that asks about a person’s criminal background  removed from all job applications in the state. “Because Black people are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system, that question on job applications can and has served as a way for employers to discriminate against Black workers without being explicit about it,” says DeAngelo Bester, Executive Director of WCRJ.

Legislation to “Ban The Box” has been introduced in the Illinois Legislature on several different occasions, but has thus far failed to be signed into law. The WCRJ is using a different strategy by putting grassroots pressure on Governor Quinn to sign an Executive Order that would effectively remove the question on all job applications in the state, and then work to build more support in the legislature to get a bill signed into law, which would make the ban permanent.

The forum on August 7th will be an opportunity for formerly incarcerated Black workers and their supporters to engage in a productive discussion with the Governor about issues that affect their lives. “This forum is just the first step in our work to end discrimination and help deliver justice to formerly Black workers in this state,” according to Bester.

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