23 Oct Voices United for Prop. 47
By Joshua Busch
1) David Macias, Self-Employed Artist
“I think Prop 47 is going to help people like me and others with turning their felonies into misdemeanors… and hopefully give us a better opportunity in life. If it is a non-violent crime, we should definitely have a chance to clean up our records. If we’ve done our time, why not give us a second chance to do something better with ourselves and stop holding us back? We have kids to feed. We have families that are in need.
Having a felony on my record has affected my employment opportunities. I’ve really tried to better my life since I got out of prison. Hopefully, Prop 47 can help people like me expunge their felonies and find some positive employment.
People who find it difficult finding a job end up saying [forget] it and go back to what they were doing before because it’s so hard for us to get a job. Expunging a felony could help us and help keep our family together.”
2) Timothy Walker, High School Student
“Our broken prison system is taking money away from our education system and that’s just not right. We spend $62,000 a year per inmate, but only $9,000 per student. I think that money could be channeled into something much more useful, like into schools that lack resources. It could provide more college prep courses, advanced placement courses, scholarships, counselors and support services that a lot of South Los Angeles schools lack.
If schools got these extra resources, I think it would help send more kids to college. Having more counselors would allow them to actually sit down with each student and provide real support. I’ve seen more than ten of my friends drop out since ninth grade and I know that if they would have had more support at school, they could be seniors right now, just like me.
Putting money into prisons instead of schools is just backwards. We need to be investing in young people who are our future. Prop 47 is a start towards getting our priorities right.”
3) Catherine Clay, Social Service Provider
“Prop 47 is not just important to me but it’s important to my community and the population of women that our clinic serves. I’m an ambassador for Women’s Community Reintegration Services. We’re the only all-women’s mental health clinic in L.A. County and we’re also part of the jail linkage system in the Lynwood women’s jail.
Prop 47 will give women who have been arrested for minor offenses the opportunity to come back to the community and qualify for support, like food stamps and housing, so they can get their lives back on track.
So Prop 47 is not only important to me, it’s important to you, your community and future generations. We can’t let other communities decide this vote for us. You have no right to complain if you don’t get out and vote. So let’s get out and vote and make change!” Visit www.unitedforprop47.com to hear other Prop 47 stories.
Busch is director of digital media at Community Coalition.