National Expungement Week (N.E.W.) 2020, the third annual week of awareness across the U.S. that offers expungement and other forms of legal relief to some of the 77 million Americans with criminal records will take place September 19-26, 2020. Adapting to address COVID-19 health and safety concerns, N.E.W. 2020 will continue its vital work through a mix of online and in-person clinics, workshops, and events – featuring crucial supportive services including pop-up food pantries and voter registration at select locations.
N.E.W. 2020 clinics will cover all 5 regions of the U.S., representing states including California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington. N.E.W. 2020 will continue its mission to restore individuals and communities through wraparound services focused on key areas of relief exposed by the ongoing pandemic, including reparative justice, voting rights, housing, and food insecurity. N.E.W. 2020 is made possible by Canopy Growth Corporation, local sponsors, partner organizations, and a tireless community of grassroots organizers working directly with disenfranchised communities.
“Our year-round work never stops, and we are determined to use this week to inspire communities to take action, clear records, and restore the rights of some of the 77 million justice-impacted people in the U.S.,” says LaTorie Marshall, the founder of National Expungement Week.
N.E.W. is a permanent assistance network for marginalized communities nationwide, which has helped over 1,000 people start to clear or seal convictions on their records. More than 3,000 people have also received related social services offered at N.E.W. clinics and events, including employment resources, voter registration, and health screenings. Since its launch in 2018, the grassroots network has generated a public benefit of over $10,000,000.
N.E.W. 2020 is powered by people of color, supported in full solidarity by Cage-Free Repair, and brought to communities through a dedicated group of community organizers and activists. The collective advocates for uniform legal relief laws and automatic expungement policies nationwide and raises awareness for the 44,000 legal and socioeconomic barriers that exist for the disenfranchised. Though not cannabis-specific, mitigating the impact of the War on Drugs is a key focus, as it works to put marginalized communities directly in touch with valuable services and resources. N.E.W. has also created an online toolkit to further their expungement efforts year-round.
N.E.W.’s partnership with Code For America continues in a number of forms in 2020. Code for America’s National Day of Civic Hacking (September 12, 2020) will focus on the social safety net, and those efforts will be amplified by the wraparound services offered at N.E.W. events one week later. In time for one of the most consequential election cycles of a generation, N.E.W. 2020’s push for voter registration also coincides with National Voter Registration Day, which takes place on September 22, 2020.