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Begin Again

viaEmmanuel Baptist Church
Have you ever received a summons? Did you fail to respond to the summons? Are you tired of looking over your shoulders? Are you tired of wondering if today is the day? Several New York City youth have you been issued a citation and their parents are not aware of it. Their children have not informed them and the agency who wrote the summons is not obligated to do so. Some children are scared to inform their parents because they are not sure how their parents will react. Some children think if they ignore the citation, it will go away.

Often the parents do not find out until they receive a letter in the mail stating they failed to appear and a bench warrant has been issued for their arrest. Unfortunately, by this time the parent is upset and the fine has accumulated late fees.  What our children and these adults do not understand is this situation can cause a domino affect. What started out as a minor unanswered citation, may lead to a warrant which will lead to an arrest which now causes you to have a criminal record. If you have a criminal record it will make it difficult to obtain a job, housing and loans. 

What baffles me is our children are not the only ones who think this way. Sadly, there are some grown men and women seem to think if they ignore a citation it will go away. Well, it does not go away. Failure to respond to a citation can do more harm than  good. If for any reason you are stopped again by the police, they run your information and they see you have an outstanding ticket or a bench warrant, you will be arrested on the spot.

Well guess what, Rev. Anthony Trufant of Emmanuel Baptist Church (my church home) along with The Brooklyn District Attorney's office, The Legal Aide Society, The Office of Court Administration and The New York Police Department have partnered together to launch a program called Begin Again. It is a two day event that will  help New York City residents to obtain a clean record and to resolve any MINOR outstanding summons or warrants for low level offenses. These offenses include, but are not limited to public urination, open containers, riding a bike on a sidewalk, fare evasion, possession of Marijuana, trespassing and more. In addition to receiving legal assistance, they also offered information about health care, job training, housing and more.

This is not a gimmick. The best part is the individual(s) will not be arrested. I think this is a good program. I wish it was longer than two days. Hopefully, they will be able to provide these services on a monthly or quarterly basis. I hope everyone who had a summons or warrant will take advantage of this event. The choices they made does not have to consume their life any further. They no longer have to live in fear. Let the past be the past. It was a mistake. Consider it  a lesson learned. Do not worry about what might have been or what could have happened. "Old things are passed away, behold all things become new". It's Time For A New Beginning. Look forward to your future as it is yours to create. 

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