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Beyond the box

(10/15/18 4:00am)

As volunteer advocates at the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF), a nonprofit that works with individuals toward goals of financial independence, we often work alongside justice-involved community members (those who have come into contact with any part of the criminal justice system) who routinely confront a society that continues to punish them long after they leave detention in the criminal-legal system. As they begin the slow work of rebuilding their lives and rejoining their respective communities, they must navigate limited housing options, employers who refuse to hire them, bureaucratic and nightmarish expungement processes and a public conditioned to fear and disregard them. One consistent barrier is the “Box”—a question on the initial employment application asking if the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime. Resulting in the disproportionate rejection of African-American and Latinx job applicants, this Box represents a prejudice ingrained in so many employers against the formerly incarcerated. It is a codification of denied opportunity to those seeking economic stability for themselves and their families. We witnessed countless individuals confront the disappointment, discouragement and rejection generated by the Box, and being forced to start over again. More often than not, we witnessed this rejection when CEF members applied to jobs at Duke University and its Health System.

Candidate column: Uwa Ihionkhan

(04/04/18 3:54pm)

My  name is Uwa Ihionkhan, and I’m a sophomore psychology major from Longview, Texas. I’m thrilled to run for Vice President of Duke Student Government’s Durham & Regional Affairs Committee. I care deeply about engaging students in the Durham community, increasing  collaboration between Duke and partner institutions, and working with students to enact change on and off campus. My two years of vast experience in Senate makes me confident that I can fulfill the role of Vice President. Since I stepped foot on campus, I’ve  been passionately working to better the Duke experience on and off campus. I take time to critically assess Duke and its dynamic relationship with Durham, North Carolina, and the world, and use this reflection to inform my projects.