Feb 17, 2010

The Face of Employment Discrimination

Last Sunday, in the article, "Hire Ground Hard to Find for Ex-Cons," the Daily News gave a face to thousands of men and women in New York who return from incarceration, motivated to make an honest living, only to discover that many employers won't grant them an interview. Braulio Rodriguez, a Bronx resident who completed his sentence and then struggled to find work to support his wife and children before finally landing a job as a maintenance technician, was featured in the article. The article also describes the Employment & Public Safety Forum sponsored by the Fortune Society and the Prisoner Reentry Institute in partnership with the Upper Manhattan Reentry Task Force where Rodriguez first articulated why employers should give individuals like him an opportunity to work.

Within two days after the publication of the article, I received over forty phone calls from readers with stories nearly identical to Rodriguez's. Most of them however, are still searching for work. One caller, a seventy year old man who had finished his prison term over thirty years ago asked me, "How would you like to be judged by the worst thing you've ever done for the rest of your life?"