More than 50 individuals participated in a “Redemption” workshop hosted by the Miami-Dade County Interfaith Advisory Board (IAB) in coordination with the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office on July 30.
In Florida, it can be difficult to qualify to have a record sealed or expunged. During this event, in Jose Marti Park, participants had the opportunity to understand the process of sealing a criminal record, making a person’s criminal history inaccessible to the public, and expunging a record when the court orders the physical destruction or obliteration of a criminal history record or of a portion of that record.
“The sealing or expungement of records offers affected people a chance to overcome the mistakes of their past. Civil Rights Restoration gives these persons a vote and a voice,” said Interfaith Advisory Board chair Dr.Juan Barek, DMin. “We thank the many volunteers from the Office of Public Defender Carlos Martinez, and in particular, his assistant, Sophia Montenegro, who spent her time, talent, and energy working hard on the logistics of the day, as well as Cynthia Cruz from Office of Mayor Francis X. Suarez.”
Other participants were staff from the Office of Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin, representatives from the Office of the State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, City of Miami Government and Police Department employees, Florida Right Restoration Coalition advisors, and Transition Employment Services advocates.
The IAB assists with conflict transformation, education, and communication to increase understanding and build relationships across belief systems. Leaders of different faiths, religions, and spiritual backgrounds work together in this Board and work cooperatively on common issues.
The IAB was created by ordinance in 2020 to provide faith-based, religious, and spiritual leaders an opportunity to discuss countless matters collegially though interfaith dialogue, as well as to voice relevant concerns to the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners.