Join President and Founder Barbara R. Arnwine, Esq. along with Co-Host and Chair Board, Daryl D. Jones, Esq., Every Tuesday from 12:00pm to 1:00pm
On the Igniting Change Radio Show on Tuesday, September 13th, 2022, entitled “Making Transformative Change: Restoring the Right to Vote and Gen Z & Millennial Leadership Training”, Radio Show Co-Hosts and Transformative Justice Coalition (TJC) Co-Leaders Attorneys Barbara Arnwine and Daryl Jones will be joined by guests Joshua Hatch and Earl Burke for the first half of the show and by guests Dr. Rasheed Atwater and Brittany Mack for the second half of this special 2-part show. This show will cover 2 critical topics that will be determinative for the 2022 Midterm Elections: the restoration of the vote for the millions of eligible formerly incarcerated persons and the participation of GenZ and Millennials in the election cycle. The first half of the show will feature a discussion with Mr. Joshua Hatch and Mr. Earl Burke of Freedom Fighters about an upcoming Ex-Offenders Voters Education & Registration Event being held September 17, 2022, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM in Hanover, MD. Other co-sponsors of this event include the NAACP and Genergi Logistic.
The second half of the show will discuss the Transformative Justice Coalition’s upcoming GenZ and Millennial Votes Matter Leadership Training, September 29-October 1st. This “Train the Trainers” program is designed to enhance the leadership skills of youth voting rights activists ages 18-35 years old. This segment of the show will feature discussions with Dr. Rasheed Atwater and Brittney Mack, 2 alumni of past training events.
Be sure to invite your friends to listen live at WOL 1450 AM in the Greater DC Metro Region, and nationwide and globally on the Internet at WOLDCNEWS.com and BarbaraArnwine.com. Listeners can call in with questions at 800-450-7876.
Please note, during the show there are 3 hard stop commercial breaks at 12:13 PM Eastern Time, 12:28 PM ET and 12:43 PM ET. We will stop all guests from speaking right before each break.
Joshua Hatch: 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM Eastern Time
A leader of Freedom Fighters LLC
Earl Burke: 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM Eastern Time
Supporter and Activist of voting rights restoration after being incarcerated for 40 years
Dr. Rasheed Atwater: 12:30 PM – 12:57 PM Eastern Time
TJC-trained Voting Rights Ambassador and Gen Z and Millennial Votes Matter Alumni
Brittany Mack: 12:30 PM – 12:57 PM Eastern Time
TJC-trained Voting Rights Ambassador and Gen Z and Millennial Votes Matter Alumni
In past Igniting Change shows, we have covered the racist regime of felon disenfranchisement laws in the United States which have resulted in 6 million voters being blocked from voting in their states and the tragedy of an estimated 18 million formerly incarcerated persons being confused about their right to vote because of the threat of unwittingly violating these laws. Critical to stopping this disenfranchisement is massive law reform, voter education and voter assistance. In March, 2016, the Maryland legislature overrode Governor Larry Hogan’s veto and revised Maryland law to restore voting rights upon release from prison, thus making 40,000 Marylanders eligible to vote. Our show will discuss the progress made to date in outreaching to and educating these eligible voters about their new rights. Also, we will discuss the program being held this Saturday and how formerly incarcerated persons can register and vote in Maryland.
“Felony Disenfranchisement has been a part of Maryland’s Constitution since 1851.” “After a successful veto override, voting rights in Maryland are restored automatically after release from prison, and not taken away from those on probation. This law went into effect on March 10, 2016. With a vote in the House on January 21  and another in the Senate on February 9 , Maryland’s legislature voted to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto and enact SB 340/HB 980. When this legislation became law on March 10 , it immediately restored voting rights to an estimated 40,000 Marylanders. This new legislation replaced Maryland’s previous practice of disenfranchising individuals with past felony convictions until they completed each and every portion of their sentences. Going forward, citizens will regain their voting rights immediately upon release from incarceration, and will not lose their right to vote if not sentenced to incarceration.”
In Maryland, “You can vote even if you were convicted of a felony, if:
You can vote while on probation, unless you were convicted of buying or selling votes.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Election Law § 3-102”
Now, in February 2022, from a Washington Post article, “Maryland’s Democratic controlled legislature is poised to reform one of the country’s most restrictive laws barring ex-offenders from serving on juries, building on a commitment to restore rights to the formerly incarcerated that began seven years ago…As the nation reckons with systemic racism and racial disparities, advocates and lawmakers say they are hopeful that this is the year that Maryland will take the next step to make formerly incarcerated people whole…With a disproportionate number of Black men in Maryland’s prisons, advocates are hoping the bill will help widen the jury pool and lead to fairer trials…More than 20 million people across the country — a disproportionate number of whom are Black men — are disqualified for jury duty because of a prior conviction, according to a 2021 report by the Prison Policy Initiative, a research and criminal justice advocacy group. Criminal justice experts say Maryland’s current law is one of the most restrictive in the country because it not only excludes people who have been convicted of felonies but also those who have been convicted of some misdemeanors as well. Under the law, a person is barred from jury service if they have been convicted of a crime that carries a sentence of more than a year and the person has served a year in jail. A person who has a pending charge for a crime that carries a sentence of more than a year is also prohibited from serving. An ex-offender can only regain the ability to serve on a jury if they receive a pardon.
“According to a recent report by Maryland legislative analysts, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, similar to Maryland, determine eligibility for juror service based on the length of a sentence someone receives and whether the offense is a felony or misdemeanor. There are only three states, Illinois, Iowa and Maine, that do not automatically disqualify jurors based on a prior felony conviction.
“‘If a guy came out and he’s off parole, he’s off probation, he’s working paying taxes, he should have the same rights as everybody else,’ said Stanley Mitchell, 73. Mitchell was one of nearly 200 older people released from prison after a 2012 landmark decision by Maryland’s highest court determined that juries before the 1980s were regularly given bad instructions, resulting in unfair trials. Mitchell walked out of Jessup prison nine years ago with $18 and a 30-day supply of high blood pressure pills in his pocket. He’s rebuilt his life and, as a result of the 2015 voting bill, he cast his first ballot in 2018…
“In Maryland, more than 70 percent of the prison population in 2018 was Black, compared with 31 percent of the state population. Sen. Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore City), who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, said the measure serves two purposes: to ensure that Black defendants ‘have a jury of their peers’ and to re-enfranchise people who have paid their debt to society.
“The legislation is the latest effort in Maryland in recent years to level the criminal justice playing field and help ex-offenders become full members of society. In 2018, state lawmakers overturned Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill that prohibits public and private colleges and universities from including questions about criminal history on student applications. Two years ago, the Democratic-controlled legislature approved an override of another ban-the-box legislation, one that bars employers from asking prospective employees about their criminal history on a job application.”
During the second half of the show, Igniting Change will discuss the upcoming Gen Z and Millennial Votes Matter Training being held during the Congressional Black Caucus September 29th – October 1st. This non-partisan in-person Training Event is a paid training opportunity with a $500 stipend and round-trip all expenses paid to Washington, D.C. for the entire event. This effort will prepare 25 persons, 18-35 years old, from Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin to serve as Voting Rights Ambassadors to directly serve vulnerable communities and voters by enhancing their ability to participate in the 2020 Presidential Elections.
This Training will use a proven and successful specially designed “Train the Trainer” Voting Rights Immersion Program which will teach fundamentals of voting rights and develop skills for conducting voter registration, voter education, voter assistance for obtaining IDs, voter mobilization, voter turnout and voter protection. This in-person Gen Z and Millennial Votes Matter Training will enhance the leadership skills of talented students and young community leaders to work in coalition with voting rights and civic participation organizations to register thousands of voters, conduct voter education forums, teach voters to navigate barriers to voting, assist in obtaining voter IDs, help voters to the polls, and protect voters who encounter problems voting.
The deadline to apply is September 16th, 2022 and proof of vaccination is required. Those interested can apply at votingrightsalliance.org/apply2022.