More than a dozen people turned out Monday for a workshop at a Baptist church on how to expunge a criminal record.
The hour long worship was held in conjunction with the observance of the Martin Luther King. Jr. holiday. The workshop was hosted by Mount Moriah Baptist Church at 2789 Millerfield Road.
“Dr. King gave his life for the cause of civil rights, but the legal system takes away rights given to us as citizens,” Lonzy Edwards, the church’s pastor, an attorney and a Bibb County commissioner, told those assembled at the workshop.
For individuals convicted of certain offenses, the consequences are burdensome and hinder re-entry into society as a productive member, Edwards said. He said the workshop was designed to help those “struggling to reclaim their lives ... and their dreams.”
Edwards quoted Luke 4:18 in which Jesus says he has come in part to “preach deliverance to the captives” and “to set at liberty them that are bruised.”
Difficulties in finding housing, employment and not being able to vote with a felony record are among the obstacles faced by former offenders, Edwards said.
“We believe in the God of a second chance,” Edwards told those assembled.
Brenda Youmas, an attorney who works with Edwards, gave a power-point presentation on how go about having a criminal record expunged.
Edwards noted that giving individuals a second chance and helping them to become productive citizens benefits everyone.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559