Hundreds are gathering at the Government Center Monday night to ask the city of Charlotte to take the question asking about previous convictions off the city's job applications.
It's what the city of Durham decided to do in 2011.
Erik Ortega with the Center for Community Transitions works daily to help people with criminal pasts find jobs. Ortega is among a group that will be asking City Council to pass an ordinance to "Ban the Box," which would remove the question of whether someone has been previously convicted of a crime from the city of Charlotte's job applications.
"We want them to eliminate that question on the application. That way, the public sector and private sector can say, 'The city has eliminated this question, let’s follow suit,’” Ortega said.
But the vice president for the website CrimeinCharlotte.com believes the question should stay. The site chronicles arrests and other crime alerts for the public.
"I think they should have an equal opportunity for employment, but as an employer, as the city of Charlotte or a private employer, they have a right to know that information,” Thad Clark said.
Jessica Sasser believes the question has blocked opportunities for her.
“They just judge us and don’t give us a chance,” she said.
The mother of two was arrested on drug charges in 2008. She had never been in trouble before and the charges were dismissed. Since her arrest, Sasser has been a part of a program that's helped train her for employment, specializing in customer service. She also must spend 35 hours a week applying for jobs, but so far has not gotten any offers.
"I have kids and I need to provide for them better than what I'm doing if they just give me a chance,” she said.
"We're not saying don't ask about their criminal records, we're saying give them the opportunity to represent themselves and to show them who they are today,” Ortega said.
The Center for Community Transitions’ study found 96 percent of people who found work after getting charged or convicted did not return to jail and were able to maintain their jobs and contribute to the local economy.