Last Thursday night, organizing efforts by a powerful group of formerly incarcerated people and their allies made history by making Austin the first Fair Chance Hiring City in the South! Austin City Council voted 8-2 to pass a Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance — an anti-discrimination policy that moves the background check to the end of the hiring process for most private employers, allowing candidates to be considered based on their merits first, without the stigma of a conviction history.
The opposition, including the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and others, argued this ordinance would result in a waste of employers’ time and resources. We argued this would be a step toward the restoration of civil rights and an end to the system of racialized mass incarceration in our city. And, WE WON!
We’re celebrating this victory alongside the Second Chance Democrats of Austin, who played a crucial leadership role in the campaign, Equal Justice Center, Youth Rise Texas, Council Member Greg Casar and his staff, and others in the community who worked so hard and stood with us in the fight!
If you couldn’t make it to City Hall last Thursday, you can watch the incredible testimony HERE by clicking on Item 19. You can also check out this recap of Thursday night's events in the Austin Chronicle HERE.
If you signed the petition, called your council member, spread the word, helped make signs and the banner, stood with us Thursday night, or especially if you bravely testified in front of council, THANK YOU!
While we celebrate this momentous victory, let’s continue to build power together in the fight to restore humanity and dismantle mass incarceration. Onward!