PCHR trainings: Bringing messages and meaning to diverse audiences

Team PCHR was busy in the streets this week, deciphering laws and their practical impact for a range of audiences across the city.

On Tuesday, a partnership with the Nationalities Service Center helped boost the level of expertise for those assisting newly arrived citizens when it comes to areas such as countering discrimination in housing and employment.

Deputy Director Pamela Gwaltney leans into the point made by Executive Director Rue Landau during a recent training at the Nationalities Services Center.

Deputy Director Pamela Gwaltney (l.) leans into the point made by Executive Director Rue Landau (r.) during a recent training at the Nationalities Services Center.

Executive Director Rue Landau and Deputy Director Pamela Gwaltney tag-teamed as they explained the city’s fair housing laws and provided an overview of the Fair Practices Ordinance. Assembled were dozens of people who work with migrants and recent immigrants, representing the NSC as well as the Migrant Education Program and a representative of City Council Majority Leader Curtis Jones Jr.’s office.

With Philadelphia’s shifting demographics, it’s essential those helping people settle and integrate into day-to-day life are fully aware of what behaviors are accepted as well as what things are prohibited — such as discriminating or retaliating against pregnant or nursing mothers. It was a day of information exchange that included fielding questions and providing insights.

“The people who came to this training work with some of our most vulnerable residents, and it is so important that they are clear on the rules so they can share that information,” Landau said. “It was a great opportunity and it is totally what we love doing — getting out there and helping people understand how to protect themselves.”

PCHR's Naarah Crawley reviews the city's

PCHR’s Naarah Crawley reviews the city’s
“Ban the Box” law with a participant at the 2nd Annual Hispanic Job Fair at Esperanza College, sponsored by La Mega 1310.

Meanwhile, yesterday, Naarah Crawley and Monica Gonzalez strengthened understanding of the city’s “Ban the Box” law for dozens of people on the hunt for work during the 2nd Annual Hispanic Job Fair at Esperanza College, sponsored by La Mega 1310.

Private sector employers and the city set up tables with employment opportunities, while PCHR reps spoke about overcoming perceived barriers to claiming those opportunities.

City Managing Director Rich Negrin spoke about the power of education, opportunity and the rewarding nature of public service during the 2nd Annual Hispanic Job Fair at Esperanza College, sponsored by La Mega radio.

City Managing Director Rich Negrin spoke about the power of education, opportunity and the rewarding nature of public service during the 2nd Annual Hispanic Job Fair at Esperanza College, sponsored by La Mega radio.

Men and women of all ages and interests stopped by the table to learn how a criminal background doesn’t have to impede future employment. Under the law, employers are not allowed to ask about criminal histories in the initial phases of the interview process — not on a job application or during the first interview, whether in person or on the phone. Likewise, past brushes with the law cannot prevent someone from receiving a merited promotion or raise.

“So many people lose out simply because they don’t realize these protections exist,” Gonzalez said. “Yes. They made mistakes. But they paid for them. And their punishment isn’t supposed to be forever, especially when they’re trying to do the right thing moving forward.”

Sharing the word: “Ban the Box” and job hunting at Esperanza College

With unemployment rates among the city’s Latino population more than twice the city’s average, La Mega 1310’s job fair at Esperanza College — complete with recruiters that had actual openings — came right on time.

PCHR's Monica Gonzalez explains how the city's 'Ban the Box" law can help level the playing field for job seekers during the first job fair sponsored by La Mega 1310AM.

PCHR’s Monica Gonzalez explains how the city’s ‘Ban the Box” law can help level the playing field for job seekers during the first job fair sponsored by La Mega 1310AM.

But for those Latinos, males and females, who have criminal records, the prospect of employment always seems shakier.

PCHR was on hand to insist that it doesn’t have to be, that the “Ban the Box” law is intended to help them get an even shot at competing for work.

PCHR's Naarah Crawley answers questions about the city's "Ban the Box" law at La Mega 1310 AM's first job fair, held at Esperanza College.

PCHR’s Naarah Crawley answers questions about the city’s “Ban the Box” law at La Mega 1310 AM’s first job fair, held at Esperanza College.

It’s why the agency partnered with La Mega to help deliver this important message — and job fair attendees flocked to the PCHR table to listen to Monica Gonzalez and Naarah Crawley tell them more, about the law, how to use it and what to do if things don’t go according to plan.

There were as many women as men stopping by the table, of all ages, securing information for themselves and loved ones.

“We keep putting out information and setting out the brochures, and people are picking them up,” Gonzalez said. “They definitely want to know more.”

PCHR's Monica Gonzalez and Naarah Crawley get encouragement and thanks from Managing Director Rich Negrin at La Mega's first job fair, held at Esperanza College

PCHR’s Monica Gonzalez and Naarah Crawley get encouragement and thanks from Managing Director Rich Negrin at La Mega’s first job fair, held at Esperanza College