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To: Congress

Pass the Abolition Amendment and End Legalized Slavery

It’s time to unequivocally make the evils of slavery and involuntary servitude history, once and for all. We must pass the Abolition Amendment — introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) and Representative Nikema Williams (GA-05) — to end the exception once and for all. Nobody deserves to be enslaved.

Why is this important?

The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution is celebrated for abolishing slavery, but what if we told you slavery is still legal?

There’s actually an exception clause in the Thirteenth Amendment that allows slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for crime. Today, more than 150 years since its passage, incarcerated people — many of whom are Black and brown — are forced to work for little to no pay. Incarcerated people who refuse to work are often beaten, denied visits and calls from loved ones, put in solitary confinement, and even denied parole.

BUT, there’s hope! In the last 3 years, three states have ended this exception in their state constitutions and truly abolished slavery. In 2018, Colorado became the first state since Rhode Island — the only state to have fully abolished slavery prior to the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment — to end the exception and abolish slavery. Utah and Nebraska followed in 2020.

In all three states, the ballot initiatives were the result of unanimous, bipartisan legislative votes. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the social awakening of many people across the U.S. to the horrifying reality of anti-Black racism, more than 20 states are organizing to abolish slavery in their state constitutions. Tennessee, Vermont, Oregon, Louisiana and Alabama will all be on the ballot this year and several others are expecting to be. The time to act is now.

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Updates

2022-07-14 13:18:06 -0400

200,000 signatures reached

2022-07-02 16:17:07 -0400

150,000 signatures reached

2022-06-30 10:19:15 -0400

100,000 signatures reached

2022-06-26 14:44:54 -0400

50,000 signatures reached

2022-06-09 10:59:39 -0400

20,000 signatures reached

2022-06-07 09:49:21 -0400

10,000 signatures reached

2022-06-06 19:59:02 -0400

5,000 signatures reached

2022-06-06 18:20:50 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2022-06-03 15:32:38 -0400

500 signatures reached

2022-05-13 15:35:34 -0400

100 signatures reached

2022-05-13 15:24:30 -0400

50 signatures reached

2022-03-17 15:38:57 -0400

25 signatures reached

2022-03-03 17:36:55 -0500

10 signatures reached