Nicholas Buckingham is a community organizer with FORCE. After spending seven years incarcerated and catching the backlash of the the felony stigma, Nicholas decided to focus his attention on higher education and raising his voice for criminal justice reform. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Oakland Community College with an associate degree in mental health/social work and is currently completing his Bachelors in social work with a concentration on criminal justice at Oakland University. Nicholas is a board member with the Detroit chapter of the Nation Outside, a cohort with Justleadership USA, and the leading voice for the fair chance ordinance for the city of Detroit.
Nicholas became deeply compassionate with reforming the criminal justice system while incarcerated. In 2010, after spending seven years in the Michigan department of corrections, Nicholas organized within the prison system to bring a change to the overbearing cost of phone calls. Building relationships with the religious and prison organizations, Nicholas was able to bring the people imprisoned and family members outside of the prison together to take action against the phone system by not using the phones for a allocated amount of time. While enduring the harsh environment of the prison system, the department of corrections were able to settle their differences with the prison population by reducing the cost of the phone calls. After being paroled out of the Michigan department of corrections in 2012, Nicholas would find the difficulty in finding a job and affordable housing due to his criminal background. With little resources that would help returning citizens, Nicholas begin to concentrate his time and energy in advocating for rehabilitating and re-entry programs that would propel productivity among returning citizens. In 2016, Nicholas led the Fair Chances 4 All Campaign (FC4A), a coalition effort comprised of faith, labor, legal, and community organizations aimed at helping people with criminal records find quality employment. The Detroit City Council passed a ‘Ban the Box’ ordinance in 2010. FC4A would extend that rule to include private employers who receive tax breaks from the city.