On Monday night, January 12, 2015, Aaron Ammons sat in the front row of the audience at the Urbana city council meeting. The purchase of Tasers for police was being discussed. He got a call and stepped out of the room. He came back and sat back down. During public input on the topic, Aaron spoke of his opposition to Tasers, which he and his group CU Citizens for Peace and Justice, has fought for a decade. He also announced that he had just received a pardon from outgoing Governor Quinn.
In the early 1990s, Aaron took a plea bargain to a felony drug offense. This felony, what he calls the modern day “scarlet letter,” has followed him ever since. Today, Aaron is not afraid to talk about his past in the underground drug economy. He performs poetry about his time on the streets at SPEAK Café, which he founded and MCs. He also started the group Citizens With Conviction, made up of those with felony records. In Spring 2014, they successfully won a “Ban the Box” initiative in Urbana, eliminating the question about felony history on job applications. Congratulations to Aaron!