As we work to reduce barriers to economic prosperity, we believe in centering and amplifying the voices of the individuals most impacted by inequitable systems. RMMFI entrepreneurs are the best advocates for themselves and their communities, and it is our role to support them with tools, guidance, and resources.
That is why we were excited to partner with Healthier Colorado on their Clean Slate Leadership Academy this October. In 2022, the Colorado Clean Slate Act was passed to automate the record-sealing process and remove a significant barrier to employment and housing for individuals with past criminal convictions. The Clean Slate Leadership Academy is an ambassador training program that builds on that legislation by educating, engaging, and empowering formerly incarcerated Coloradans to be “clean slate” advocates. Over the course of four sessions, participants are trained on how to understand the new Clean Slate laws, advocate for themselves and others in the criminal justice community, and serve as community leaders.
For the first cohort, 10 individuals were selected to participate out of more than 120 applicants. One of the 10 selected was Jose Romero, owner of Ghetto Dias Tacos and graduate of RMMFI’s Southeast Colorado Boot Camp #1:
“I’ve had numerous experiences with the judicial system, and I’ve had to hustle because of the marks on my record. The Clean Slate Leadership Academy helped me understand the ins and outs of the judicial system so I can help others navigate it and show that it’s possible. I just want to give back to a community that has given me and my family so much.”
Jose is a great example of how entrepreneurs can act as leaders that transform their communities. We’re grateful to Healthier Colorado for leading this work to ensure that those with lived experience in the criminal justice system have a seat at the decision-making table.