Free to Drive Campaign Launch

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Arnold & Porter, LLP

601 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20001

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Event description
Join us for the launch of Free to Drive - a national campaign to end debt based driver's license suspensions.

About this Event

Driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees are cruel, counterproductive, and harmful to millions of people. Nationwide, there are at least 11 million driver's license suspensions for unpaid court debt. People who lose their license often lose their jobs; they can’t go to the doctor, attend church, take care of their families or get to court.

In the past two years, 6 states have stopped suspending driver's licenses for unpaid fines and fees, and many more are considering abolishing the practice. To accelerate reform nationwide, we’re launching the Free to Drive campaign to end debt-based driver’s license suspensions. Over 100 organizations from around the country have already joined.

You are invited to join us for the campaign launch in Washington, DC on September 10, 2019. You will hear from experts across various sectors - civil rights, healthcare, business, reentry who will discuss the far-reaching impacts of driver’s license suspension. You will also hear from the advocates, lawyers, and policy makers leading the charge for reform. Most importantly, you’ll hear directly from some of the people harmed by this injustice.

The event will include speakers from the ACLU, Uber, Civil Rights Corps, Legal Aid Justice Center, Right on Crime, Fines and Fees Justice Center, and other organizations. The full agenda is detailed below.

During the launch event, Free to Drive will unveil a powerful resource for advocates and policymakers in their efforts to achieve reform. The national driver’s license suspension map details brand-new, comprehensive data, state-by-state information on driver’s license suspension, and stories of impacted individuals across the country.

Immediately following the program, join us for networking & a cocktail reception.


3:00 -3:15 pm

Video: Driver’s License Suspensions: Framing the Issue


Lisa Foster, Co-Director, Fines and Fees Justice Center

Video: Desiree’s Story

3:15-4:15 PM

Vantage Points Panel

This panel highlights the impact of driver’s license suspension from the perspective of various stakeholder groups, impacted individuals, and society as a whole.

Moderator: Priya Sarathy Jones, National Campaign Director, Fines and Fees Justice Center

  • Desiree Barron - Founder of The Rochester Give Back and an individual directly harmed by debt based driver’s license suspension
  • M Mahala Schlagman, MD - Assistant Professor of Medicine, Director of IM Health Equity Curriculum, University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Malcom Glenn - Uber, Head of Global Policy, Accessibility and Underserved Communities
  • John Koufos - Right on Crime, National Director of Reentry Initiatives
  • Honorable William Stanley - Virginia State Senator and Private Defense Attorney
  • Andrew Warren - State Attorney for Florida’s 13th Judicial Circuit

Video: Leah’s Story

Introduced by Leah Watson, Counsel, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

4:20-5:10 pm

Changemakers Panel

This panel will represent this issue from the state and local advocacy, policy and litigation perspectives. We will highlight efforts across the country around driver’s license suspension. What worked, what didn’t work and how to move forward.

Moderator: Thea Sebastian, Policy Counsel, Civil Rights Corps

  • Amy Woolard - Attorney and Policy Coordinator, Virginia Legal Aid Justice Center
  • S.K. Rossi - Advocacy Policy & Director, American Civil Liberties Union-Montana
  • David Herbst - State Director, Americans for Prosperity - Montana Chapter
  • Ariel Levinson-Waldman - President and Director-Counsel, Tzedek DC
  • Tara Mikkilineni - Senior Attorney, Civil Rights Corps.
  • Marc Levin - Texas Public Policy Foundation, Vice President of Criminal Justice, Right on Crime

5:15-5:25 pm

Free to Drive Map

Joanna Weiss, Co-Director, Fines and Fees Justice Center

Free to Drive will unveil the national driver’s license suspension map. This tool will serve as a resource to advocates and policymakers in their efforts for state level reforms.

5:25-5:30 pm

Closing Remarks

Alec Karakatsanis, Founder and Executive Director, Civil Rights Corps

5:30-6:30 pm

Cocktail Reception

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Arnold & Porter, LLP

601 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20001

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