Ban the Box

Ban the Box is a national movement that removes the question, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony" from the employment application. Many people wonder why that is so significant. Opponents even argue that felons should not be allowed to obtain city jobs.

Removing the box from applications may seem small to the common man, but to those of us that have felony convictions, it is a tremendous sign of hope! I've often stated that, "Where there is no hope, the only thing that can be expected is failure". The removal of that box gives us HOPE! And that hope is motivation to go ever harder and perform even better and contribute to society.

Banning the box does not remove the criminal background check. That would be crazy. But it does move it farther down the line in the hiring process. As it stands right now, that box is the first method of dismissal for potential employers. The City of Memphis is taking a great leap in leading the city's private sector toward fair hiring practices to ensure that they have the most qualified workforce possible.

I hope that the private sector sees the benefit in giving men and women hope. Crime is at an all time high. We can reduce that with measures such as this. This shows men and women that have criminal background histories that everyone is not against them and that opportunities are available. Knowing that one has an option will spur him/her to fight on and not give up. Prison, then, becomes a deterrent and is no longer an option.

I applaud the Memphis City Council, led by Chairman Harold Collins and Janis Fullilove, for taking the initiative to make Memphis a city of choice.

I know there are many questions. Please feel free to ask and I will do my best to provide an answer.
Pastor Brown