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Clinics to help felons restore civil rights

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Clinics to assist convicted felons in restoring their rights will be held twice a month, from April through October, in Galax.
The clinics are offered by the Secure Organization Building Educational Recovery Inc. (S.O.B.E.R.), a non-profit fellowship home in Galax for people recovering from addiction. The event is being promoted by The Advancement Project, a civil rights organization that works on restoring the voting rights of Virginians with past felony convictions, upon completion of their sentences.
“Virginia is one of only four states that disenfranchises people convicted of felonies for life. The only way to get their rights back is to individually apply to the governor,” said Cynthia Gordy, senior communications associate for The Advancement Project.
Michael Edwards of Galax, founder of SOBER, has set up these clinics to offer free assistance through the often confusing rights restoration application process.
Edwards’ story of getting his own rights restored in 2010 was featured in the Washington Post.
The Galax Rights Restoration Clinics will be held at SOBER, at 1646 Pipers Gap Road in Galax, every second and fourth Saturday, April through October, from 4-6 p.m. Upcoming meeting dates are April 13 and 27, May 11 and 25, June 8 and 22, and July 13 and 27.
These clinics include eligibility screenings, application selection and collecting court records with one-on-one support.
Edwards is also helping other organizations set up their own clinics in Southwest Virginia.

For more information, call 236-0460 or (276) 237-6889, email mike@s-o-b-e-r.org, or visit www.s-o-b-e-r.org. The agency is also on Facebook, as S.O.B.E.R. Fellowship Home.