Advocates hope Atlanta ordinance protecting the formerly incarcerated is just first step
A recent ordinance passed by the city of Atlanta establishes formerly incarcerated people as a protected class.
The push to pass the law was led by Barred Business, an organization that supports people after they are released from incarceration.
Bridgette Simpson is the co-founder and co-director of Barred Business, and was formerly incarcerated herself for 10 years.
Simpson spoke to WABE’s Jim Burress about what it took to get the ordinance passed, and what’s next.
She says laws like Atlanta’s mean the world to people who have been denied many opportunities based on a crime for which they had supposedly already been punished. She worked with city councilmembers to advocate for and craft the legislation.
“I was able to explain to him step by step just the hardship that we endure on a daily basis, just continuing to be ostracized by our communities,” said Simpson.” There’s 44,000 collateral consequences that surround justice impacted people, one of which is adoption.”
Simpson says she hopes to next push for similar [protections on the state and federal level, and to eventually have the 1964 Civil Rights Act amended to include the formerly incarcerated.