Towards the end of October, Damascus Way had the privilege of hosting Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison at our Golden Valley campus. Members of our board, staff and residents from Golden Valley were able to meet and dialogue with the Attorney General over lunch and a tour of the site. Golden Valley Director of Reentry Services, Marlin Meszaros had the privilege of meeting Keith earlier this year at an MLK Jr. event in January and played a key role in coordinating and securing this visit.

Attorney General Ellison’s visit was greatly appreciated by staff and residents. Members of our Damascus Way leadership had the privilege of discussing important issues with Mr. Ellison, including the work that he has done on improving the expungement process, the restoration of felons voting rights and pathways for Damascus Way to potentially hire individuals who have come into contact with the justice system. This last issue is especially close to home, given the lived experience of staff members and residents. There was also discussion of lower level substance use convictions and dialogue about what it may look like to help streamline the expungement process to avoid long-drawn out ordeals with high attorney fees.

All in all, it was a productive time for conversations and mutual learning. We are grateful to Attorney General Keith Ellison for his visit and for our Golden Valley Director Marlin for organizing this occasion!