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"La Fiesta de la Oportunidad" will take place at Taller on Saturday, Oct. 22. Courtesy Photo.
"La Fiesta de la Oportunidad" will take place at Taller on Saturday, Oct. 22. Courtesy Photo.

Free criminal record clearing clinic and cultural fiesta taking place in Philly

The event on Oct. 22 is organized by Ceiba, in collaboration with the HBAPA, the Defenders Association, and La Guagua 47.

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On Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, a multifaceted community event will take place at Taller Puertorriqueño.

The event is called “La Fiesta de la Oportunidad,” and will serve as both a criminal record clearing clinic and cultural fiesta.

It is organized by Ceiba, The Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania (HBAPA), the Defenders Association, and La Guagua 47.

“This criminal record clearing clinic is like no other in our community,” said Will Gonzalez, executive director of Ceiba, in a statement. “Criminal record clearing is important to the individuals and to the community.”

The event will serve as what Gonzalez called a collective “fresh start,” as Gonzalez calls it, as those in attendance who have needs to be addressed can look to attorneys who will be able to look at their public records and connect them with public defenders on site to start the process of the aforementioned fresh start. 

“We applaud that accomplishment,” said Gonzalez. 

Criminal record clearing has proven to be an important workforce development mechanism that helps work-eligible individuals improve their prospects for higher paying jobs.

Pennsylvania law allows old and minor convictions to be sealed and expungement of any charges that did not result in conviction. It also allows summary-level convictions for people free of arrest or prosecution for 5 years following their summary conviction. 

Alba Martinez, director of La Guagua 47, said that “La Fiesta de la Oportunidad” will also serve to use art as a platform for social change.

“The community comes together around an issue via art. We talk about it. We learn more about it. We act,” said Martinez.

She added that this particular event will allow individuals to rejoice in the personal and collective transformation with music, art, and food. 

“No better way to commemorate new beginnings,” said Martinez.

The event is sponsored by The Promise, which is Philadelphia’s Poverty Action Fund powered by United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. 

The Promise is a city-wide coalition dedicated to reducing Philadelphia’s poverty rate and supporting an equitable economic recovery from the pandemic, by combining City funding and private donations to help low-income Philadelphians gain access to benefits and opportunities for upward mobility. 

In May 2022, The Promise held the city’s largest citywide record clearing initiative, giving grants to 18 nonprofits to host record-clearing clinics in their respective communities around Philadelphia. 

La Fiesta de la Oportunidad” will take place Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022 at Taller Puertorriqueño, located at 2600 N 5th Street, beginning at 11 a.m. 

To pre-register for the criminal record clearing clinic, click here.

For more information about the event, you can contact Ceiba at (215) 634-7245 or email [email protected]

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