“Ban the Box!” Portland’s Mayor Charlie Hales proposes banning businesses from asking convicted murderers, rapists and other sex offenders about their criminal records and offers $10K each to hire them.
Dateline Thursday January 22, 2015, Portland Oregon – In footage from Don’t Shoot Portland’s meeting Saturday January 10, 2015 Theresa Raiford interrupts to ask a single question from the audience. All other questions were asked from the microphone so it’s clear she is prioritizing this one, selecting it from a large stack. Raiford relays the question:
“Since we all acknowledge that policing has been unfair to people of color, and primarily Black Men, when are you going to give African American Men a second chance when they have felonies that they have prevented them from advancing professionally?”
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales nods his head enthusiastically. He’s obviously connecting with an unknown African American male who can be seen snapping his fingers enthusiastically in the front row. Hales then offers this:
“Alright that’s a great question,” and proceeds to enumerate what’s been done. One: we have ‘Banned the Box’ in City hires so that we’ve gotten rid of that, and around that. I believe that we should also have that policy for other employers in the City. Second thing that we are going to do in my administration that we’re going to copy (sic) a wonderful program that the Mayor of Philadelphia Mike Nutter put in place, where we provide businesses an incentive to hire returning citizens, we used to call them ex offenders …” (does he mean FELONS?, e.d.), “… hire returning citizens. Philadelphia gives businesses a ten thousand dollar per year tax credit for hiring returning citizens … I want to cross out Philadelphia and put in Portland on that ..”
The African American male in the front row adds, “in the spring’s budget.” The Mayor connects non-verbally with him and affirms: “In the Spring’s Budget.”
Then Raiford lights up again, reaffirming (how does she know?, e.d.) “in the Spring’s Budget.” She goes on:
“And I was going to say for us to have this City, work to ‘Ban the Box,’ let’s understand that we need to look into legislation for pulling it throughout the State …”
The man in the front row then begins snapping his fingers again in celebration.
Over the weekend of January 10, 2015 “Don’t Shoot PDX held a meeting titled “#DONTSHOOTPDX #DSP2015 #BridgingGaps #CivicDialogues” at the Bethel AME Church in Northeast Portland. The forum included Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner, and City of Portland Mayor/ Police Commissioner, Charles Hales.
The two minute video is unedited in HD.