Looking Back & Moving Forward
I love the end of the year because it gives me a moment to reflect on everything that happened. This includes celebrating what went well, learning from hard experiences, and planning to make the next year better than the last one.
2023 has been an incredible year for Rasa! We’ve helped more than a thousand more clients obtain expungements and several hundred more obtain offense reductions or get out of felony status. We’ve expanded services to a second state and are now able to help people all across Utah and Arizona!
Every year, the highlight of our work is being able to help our clients move forward with their lives! It has been such an honor to get to know so many of you this year. We have been so thrilled to see your lives change as we help you clear your records and access new opportunities. Congratulations to those of you who have obtained better jobs, higher wages, gone back to school, or eliminated the mental and emotional weight of your criminal record. We are honored to be a part of your journey and celebrate your success.
This year, we’ve also continued our commitment to tell the stories of people with records through our #1in3 campaign. This campaign helps raise awareness of the one in three Americans who have a misdemeanor or felony level record. This year, we highlighted the stories of Coss, Portia, Brock, Brian, and Mickey. Each has a different path to the justice system and an incredible journey since leaving incarceration. Click here to learn more about their stories.
We have so many incredible things to highlight about the year that it was hard to choose what moments to include. Below we’ve shared some of our favorites:
Rasa kicked off the year by partnering with the NBA Social Justice Coalition & Utah Jazz to host a Clean Slate Summit and Panel Discussion at the Delta Center. Our panel featured key Utah stakeholders like Commissioner Jess Anderson from the Department of Public Safety, Sheena Meade from the National Clean Slate Initiative, and Jeanetta Williams, the Regional Director of the NAACP. Over 400 people attended the event and were able to meet with volunteer attorneys to help them start the process of getting their records cleared. Click here to see the video of the panel discussion.
For Second Chance Month, Rasa partnered with Clean Slate Utah to host a panel discussion on Fair Chance Hiring. This event featured Dave Durocher, from the Other Side Academy, Dr. Sidni Shorter, CEO of the Utah Black Chamber, Heather Chase, Executive Director of the Haven, Brian Tease, from the Cirque Lodge, & Jon Hale, Owner of Hires Big H. The room was packed and the conversation was meaningful. Click here to see the video of the panel discussion.
On July 1, 2023, Utah lawmakers significantly raised the cost of government fees associated with expungement. This was a devastating loss to people with records and made it cost-prohibitive for many people across our state to obtain a second chance. In order to help people start the process before the fee hike, we opened our office to the public on June 30, 2023. People drove from all over the state for assistance and we had so many people come in for help that our entire team dropped what they were doing to help people start their paperwork. We’ll never forget the families we met that day or the stories we heard from those in need of help.
In August, Rasa joined the Utah Department of Corrections, Miss Utah, state and federal lawmakers, and Right on Crime to put on an event on how supporting people with records is good for public safety, helps our economy, improves our tax base, and supports working families. The event was so packed that people stood around the perimeter of the room to be able to hear the discussion.
This fall, Rasa was honored with two national legal tech awards for its innovative approach to legal services. First, it was selected as the nation’s "Best Legal Tech Startup” at this year’s American Legal Technology Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. It also won the Reisman Award for Legal Innovation at this year’s Clio Conference. Watch this video to learn more.
In December, Rasa officially expanded to Arizona, our second state. To celebrate the launch of our services, we partnered with Arizona State University, Career Connectors, Arouet, and other non-profit organizations and fair chance employers to host a free record clearance and community resource fair. In addition, we put on a panel discussion centered on how supporting people with criminal records is good for the economy, promotes public safety, and can provide a brighter future for Arizona. Click here to see the video of the panel discussion.
2023 was an unforgettable year for our team and we know 2024 will be even better. To our current and former clients, thanks for letting us be part of your journey. To our partners, future clients, friends, and supporters, may 2024 bring you better opportunities, less judgment, more hope, and a brighter future!
Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year!
CEO & Founder of Rasa