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Back at it, drinking pints for pardons

After over a year hiatus from event planning, community organizing, and blowing up your social media feeds with flyers and promotion, I dusted off the ol’ planning hat and got back in the saddle. Back in January I attended a film screening for a short documentary called Pardon Me, hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange. Watching Pardon Me and hearing from the filmmaker, Shuja Moore, about his personal experience and the growing West Philly Pardon Network, I was inspired to get involved. 


I’ve always been an advocate for criminal justice reform and restorative justice. But a few years ago my family found itself navigating the criminal justice system for the first time. After experiencing firsthand just how flawed the system is and the gravity of its collateral consequences I am eager to get involved wherever I can.


I didn’t know much about pardons until I watched the film, but it feels like a non divisive initiative most people can support.  There are so many social and economic benefits to allowing people to truly move on with their lives after serving their time. A pardon is a legal mechanism that allows the governor of a state to wipe away a person’s criminal past.


The film gives you an intimate look at the process in Pennsylvania and the financial, emotional, and social benefits to the community when the barrier of a criminal record is removed. The West Philly Pardon Network and The Pardon Project have built an ecosystem around this issue to ensure the 100,000 eligible Philadelphians are able to apply for a pardon and have support and this film is a tool to raise awareness.


*lightbulb moment*


I had done some festival bartending with Triple Bottom Brewing Co. so I knew their mission as a Fair Chance employer and had a good feeling they would be happy to host. My friend Siah McCabe and I had been throwing around ideas about collaborating on a social community event for her group, BOP Philly. So I cold emailed Shuja, and proposed the idea to Siah and Tess and and soon after, my vision came to life! 


On Tuesday, April 30th we co-hosted a screening of the documentary at the brewery and gathered ~65 of our closest friends to learn about pardons, drink beer, and network with community-minded people. Triple Bottom Brewing even offered to donate a dollar for every beer sold that night to Do Moore Good, Shuja’s nonprofit organization, ringing in a nice even Benjamin



 

Guests were given postcards with various ways to get involved including: 


The event was an overall success and there are a few follow up screenings in the works thanks to the connections made at the watch party. We were able to connect new audiences to the film in a less formal and more social format. The energy in the room was visible and inspiring, and I look forward to seeing what comes out of the connections that were sparked that night.


It was a personal victory to pull off my first event in Philly so successfully, and I have the other event partners to thank for that. The synchronicity of everyone’s energy and missions really came together for a special night! Thanks again to Triple Bottom Brewing, BOP Philly, Do Moore Good, and the West Philly Pardon Network. 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about hosting a film screening in your community or for your organization, get in touch with Do Moore Films. View photographs from the event, generously snapped by Ray Valdez Photography. 



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