Most of the original settlers migrated to the Thirteen Colonies for a “Second Chance” at prosperity that was not afforded to them in their homelands. This is a concept that still motivates many, if not most immigrants today. This idea of a “Second Chance” is also the fundamental tenet of our founding fathers’ spiritual beliefs. As Christians, the act of forgiving is paramount to the believers’ salvation. Given the aforementioned facts, I find it hard to believe that a bill that supports such a key ideology of America has been stuck in Congress for years. The stagnation of Bill H.R. 2065 (formerly H.R. 1529/March 16, 2009) inhibits a large number of U.S. citizens from their pursuit liberty and happiness, rights granted us by the Constitution of the United States of America. It is time to stop dragging our legislative feet and pass H.R. 2065, the “Second Chance for Ex-offenders Act”.
The citizens seeking to benefit from the enactment of this Act are not the stereotypical predatory violent criminals lurking around the corners and in shadows of society. This Act is intended to empower first time non-violent ex-offenders that have paid and fulfilled all of their legal obligations and have remained free of substance dependencies. These are people who have been upstanding citizens for a substantial duration of time since their infraction. In some cases our society has handcuffed them and limited their potential positive impact to their respective communities. These citizens are all around us. They are your fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, church members and neighbors. Helping someone you know or close to you is the greatest reason for you to sign this petition.
During this time of high unemployment rates, how many of these citizens remain unemployed due to the lack of movement on this piece of legislature. Regardless of your political affiliations, there is no denying that this can affect not only the unemployment rates but also the rates of crime and recidivism nationwide. We can potentially affect multiple socio-economic indexes with the enactment of a single law. We can’t let this moment escape us. Please sign this petition. But please do not take my word for it, research for yourself. Use Google®. Search the internet or check the links that I attached at the end of this letter.
I can relate to the frustration of these citizens because I too am a member of this group. Almost 19 years ago, I committed a nonviolent misdemeanor offense. Aside from traffic violations, it was the only time I have ever broken the law. I was not incarcerated but served 5 years of probation, remained crime free, was consistently employed, and contributed to my community and church. Yet, I have been denied employment and even promotions and lateral moves within in my organization due to my distant past. I was a foolish college student then but today, I am a proud father, Sunday School teacher, fitness enthusiast and aspire to be a published author, human service worker and executive security/protection specialist. But because of my distant past my latter two aspirations will lie outside of my reach for time indefinite. I refuse to believe that I am alone, a freak of society, an anomaly
Sign this petition. Let’s send a message to our elected officials that these citizens are greater than their past. Slavery has taught us, America has never been limited by her past but by the grandeur of our DREAMS.
Kurt A. Canty, Sr.