The NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah, this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday included events that provided platforms for participants in the NBA’s Social Justice Coalition to exchange ideas and bring awareness to their causes. Among those in attendance was Sheena Meade, CEO of the Clean Slate Initiative, a national bipartisan policy model that works to update and expand eligibility for arrest and conviction record clearance if a person stays crime-free for a specific period of time. 

“Last year, the NBA Social Justice Coalition invited me to Summer League to speak to their coaches and players about civic engagement and the importance of advocating around policies and issues like clean slate,” said Meade. “I was able to bring us back to the human aspect of it. I shared my stories. I talked about the power of being able to use their platform to advocate for change.”

Meade appreciated the intentionality of the NBA to give the players a voice and have an impact way beyond the basketball court. She feels the NBA has taken an unapologetic stance on issues of policing, voting rights and criminal justice reform—committing to doing more than simply wearing shirts with a message.

“A lot of the players have family members and loved ones that need a clean slate and want to hear more about it,” said Meade, who was excited to meet LeBron James because she admired his support for social justice issues. “That’s how this partnership continues to grow. They invited me to the NBA All-Star festivities along with other social justice leaders.”

Last month, the NBA Social Justice Coalition joined with the Utah Jazz to co-host the Utah Clean Slate Summit, an event that helped people not eligible for automatic relief under Utah’s Clean Slate law navigate the expungement process.

“There are people from all across the country coming to the All-Star Game and there’s an opportunity to meet leaders, influencers, and players who are able to get the message out about [the] Clean State Initiative,” said Meade. “There are millions of people right now, across the United States, who may have had a minor offense around drug-related charges, who are eligible right now to get their records cleared and it’s too hard in their state to go through the petition process, whether because it’s costly, it’s cumbersome, it’s intimidating, or the wait times are so long.”

Clean Slate is working to have eligible people’s records automatically cleared without having to go through the petition process. This will enable people to apply for jobs, housing, and school without facing barriers or shame.

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