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Join us on Juneteenth to abolish slavery, once and for all
June 19, 2021 @ 1:00 pm EDT
Did you know that the Thirteenth Amendment did not fully abolish slavery? Most people are surprised to learn that it includes an exception that has historically allowed slavery and involuntary servitude to be used as punishment for crime. As a result, the racist legacy of slavery — carried through Black Codes, Jim Crow laws, mass incarceration, and police brutality — continues to threaten the lives of Black people, and other people of color.
Today, more than 150 years later after its passage, incarcerated people across our country are disproportionately Black and brown and forced to work for private corporations, state-owned corporations, and correctional agencies, making an average of $0.86 an hour. In five states, incarcerated people earn nothing. Those who refuse to work are often beaten, denied visits and calls, put in solitary confinement, and even denied parole.
The Abolition Amendment — introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) and Representative Nikema Williams (GA-05) — will end the exception in the Thirteenth Amendment by ensuring that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude may be imposed as a punishment for a crime.”