Road to work for the formerly incarcerated

From left, Project Consultant Jaael Cudjoe, Development Associate Camille S. Britton, Field Coordinator Chino Hardin and Program Coordinator Eloni Blake.
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In an exciting and highly informative panel discussion at the Brooklyn Public Library, the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions (CNUS) presented “Civic Restoration: A Road to Workforce Development for Formerly Incarcerated People” on Sept. 14, 2012. Civic Restoration is the central feature of Project ReNu, an innovative program of CNUS that helps individuals with criminal histories repair their records and obtain state issued Certificates of Rehabilitation that restore civil, economic and political rights often lost as a result of the conviction. The discussion brought together senior managers of various city and state government agencies responsible for providing social services for work force development, assistance for receiving the certificate, and information on the benefits of acquiring the certificate.

The Civic Restoration forum, the first of a series of community discussions to be held in each borough, featured Glenn E. Martin, Vice President of Development and Public Affairs, Fortune Society; Clinton Lacey, Deputy Commissioner, NYC Department of Probation; Dr. Vanda Seward, Statewide director of Reentry Services, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision; Latrice M. Walker, Esq, legislative counsel, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke’s Office; Karen Armstrong, assistant commissioner, NYC Department of Probation; Myrianne Clitus-Bustillo, former program specialist, Labor Management Project, 1199 SEIU Training & Employment Funds; Onida Coward Mayers, Director, NYC Votes, NYC Campaign Finance Board; John H. Moye, Commissioner’s New York City Regional Representative, NYS Department of Labor; and William Whitaker, human rights specialist, NYC Human Rights Commission. The forum was moderated by WBAI Radio talk show host Eddie Ellis, president of the Center for NuLeadership. A second forum, in cooperation with Borough President Scott Stringer, is planned for Manhattan.

The program opened with the screening of “From Criminal Justice to Human Justice,” a short introductory film, produced by RFS Wolf Entertainment Productions, detailing the Center’s evolution from criminal justice reformers to human justice activists. It was followed by an enthusiastic welcome by CNUS executive director Dr. Divine Pryor and an outline of the day by Kyung ji (Kate) Rhee, director of Juvenile Justice for the Center. Dr. Pryor explained the mission, programs and successes of the Center for NuLeadership for achieving reduced reliance on incarceration as a solution for social and economic problems in under-served urban communities. Project ReNu is one of several CNUS programs designed to achieve greater degrees of human justice by initiatives that seek system (institutional) change through accountability and transparency, community empowerment through advocacy training, service networks and civic engagement, and individual transformation through holistic educational initiatives, leadership training and inter-generational mentorship mentorships.

The Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions is the first criminal justice public policy advocacy, training and service center designed and developed by formerly incarcerated professionals. The currently independent Center, formerly located in Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York, serves as a training and service institution for the development and promotion of leadership among individuals, community residents and others seeking careers within the community development and criminal justice arena.

Courtesy Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions (CNUS)

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