February 13, 2019

PPL goes to the Capitol: Advocacy in Action

PPL staff at MN Capitol

The cycle of housing instability and incarceration is well-documented in the affordable housing field. Ex-offenders face many systemic barriers to getting back on their feet, and navigating the challenges of obtaining stable housing can bring the risk of reoffending. In addition, a criminal background can make finding and keeping a job nearly impossible.

As a Twin Cities leader in affordable housing and career training, we understand how a criminal background can become a life-long barrier. But it shouldn't be. That is why PPL has taken an advocacy role around issues that impact communities consistently affected by social and systemic injustice, including people with criminal backgrounds.

One champion of this work is PPL's Public Policy Committee. Run by staff, the committee works to elevate participant voice by understanding, analyzing, and advocating for policies that impact our communities and help participants engage at the legislative level.

On February 7, PPL and the Public Policy Committee joined 60 other organizations at the Minnesota State Capitol for Second Chance Day on the Hill. The event gives Minnesota residents the platform to advocate directly for the rights and needs of people with criminal records and provides a great opportunity to take action, meet with legislators, and help make a change.

PPL residents joined staff for this eventful day that included conversations with Majority Leader Ryan Winkler to lobby for criminal background policy reform. 

Staff Reflections

Insights and impressions from PPL's day on the Hill

"It's a privilege to work for an organization that values raising participants' voices! A big shout out to PPL participants for attending the rally and bravely speaking their truth to us and their legislators. We all have so much to learn from others' personal experiences, and I am excited that PPL is continuing to support this work."
- Trent, PPL staff
"Attending events like this at the Capitol are very inspirational and important for the community because it gives people a chance to see that their voices need to be heard. I'm glad to be part of an organization like PPL that helps bring individuals to events like these, and teaches the importance of having a voice."

- Charles, PPL staff member

"It was my first time attending and I found it empowering and inspiring. To witness the community coming together to advocate for social justice and equality was truly amazing and meaningful. It definitely gave me a push to be more active and involved in social justice and human rights issues."
- Pang, PPL staff member
"It was heartening to see the number of legislators who champion causes like restoring the right to vote for people with felony convictions. Some brave people shared their stories on being affected by the continuous punishment received even after leaving prison. Everyone was pumped up!"
- Maggie, PPL staff member
"I thought the speeches were powerful, especially those who had direct experiences with the conviction system. Majority Leader Ryan Winkler was very open when answering our questions and giving us advice. It was a great learning experience and I'm glad I participated."
- Rachel, PPL staff member


PPL staff in front of MN CapitolPPL staff with Rep. Winkler

PPL staff in front of the MN State Capitol    |    PPL staff with Majority Leader Ryan Winkler