F.O.R.C.E. Fighting to Overcome Records and Create Equality

The FORCE (Fighting to Overcome Records and Create Equality) Project is an initiative of Community Renewal Society led by people with records, their families, and faith allies organizing to create change and justice for people with records. By coming together, people with records, their families, and faith allies can change the systems which seek to keep us and our communities imprisoned.

Who is FORCE?

FORCE leaders come from all across the Chicago metropolitan area. Some of us have been out of prison for many years, and some are recently returning citizens. We are African-American, Latino, Arab, Asian, and white. We are men and women. We are united in standing against discrimination based on past records and in our belief that all people deserve fair opportunities for decent employment, housing, and education.

What does FORCE do?

  • FORCE builds relationships. FORCE leaders and organizers build relationships with and among people with records across the Chicago metropolitan area. Through one-on-ones and house meetings, we learn each other's stories and identify the most pressing issues to address.
  • FORCE develops leaders. We believe that people with records should play the central role in the issues that affect us. Therefore FORCE leaders build public skills through the CRS 3 Day Organizing Training, individual mentoring, and skills building workshops.
  • Takes Action. FORCE builds powerful campaigns to change the systems that attempt to keep people with records, our families, and communities imprisoned.

Current Work

  • Fair Employment Campaign. FORCE is calling on large employers in the Chicago area to adopt fair hiring practices with regards to people with felony records. Specifically, FORCE is asking that employers: 1) agree to accept referrals from qualified job training programs for people with felony records , 2) do not exclude people with felony records from jobs unless their conviction is directly related to the job, 3) agree to interview applicants before running background checks.
  • HB5723, the Illinois Sealing Bill. The FORCE Project supports the passage of HB 5723, which would expand the sealing of felony records for low-level, non-violent felony records. This would allow thousands of people with records a new chance for employment, housing, and education.

How Can You Help?

Featured Member:
Rev. Jason Coulter

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