PR.2 Public Testimony

Public Legislative Hearing: Constitutional Amendment to Abolish Slavery and Indentured Servitude in Vermont

“There is a profound need to acknowledge that the transatlantic trade in Africans, enslavement, colonization and colonialism were a crime against humanity and are among the major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, Afrophobia, xenophobia and related intolerance. Past injustices and crimes against African Americans need to be addressed with reparatory justice.”

Report from the United Nations Human Rights Council, Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent on its mission to the United States of America States, August 18, 2016

Abolish Slavery
Join us on Thursday, January 20, 2021 for the Public Hearing on a PR.2, a proposal for a Vermont constitutional amendment to prohibit slavery and indentured servitude in all forms!

Sign up here: indicating if you intend to testify in person or by Zoom.
Your remarks should be no longer than five minutes.  You may submit testimony via e-mail to Please use the subject line: Proposal 2 Public Comment.

If you plan to attend and need accommodations to participate, please contact the Sergeant at Arms at 802-828-2228 by January 15.

Why is it important that we amend the Vermont constitution to abolish slavery and indentured servitude?

Vermont is the first state to constitutionalize slavery.  It did so with the use of three exception clauses which include 1) those under the age of twenty-one years; 2) at a person’s own consent; and, 3) if bound by law for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like.  245 years old, it established the groundwork for state (and our nation’s) constitutional slavery and the global prison industrial complex. Sadly the Vermont constitution has also remained silent on the prison slavery exception clause of the 13th amendment of the United States constitution (a compromise that has allowed the criminalization of poverty and the racialization of the criminal justice system to inflict irreparable social and economic damage to Black and Brown and poor folks in the United States for the past 157 years)!

Proposal 2 (PR.2,) is a Vermont Constitutional Amendment unconditionally prohibiting slavery and indentured servitude. Constitutionally abolishing slavery and indentured servitude in Vermont will eliminate all existing Vermont exception clauses and negate the slavery exception clause in the 13th amendment of the US Constitution.  This proposal is the foundation of eradicating systemic racism in Vermont!

Community Discussion
Join us and our national partners, Abolish Slavery National Network to hear more about the ongoing work of abolishing slavery in the United States in “Abolishing Slavery in the United States in 2022”.   Wednesday, January 19th at 5:00 PM.  Register here:

Addressing the Ongoing Economic Impact of Systemic Racism

A product of slavery, systemic racism maintains economic inequality along racial lines. Nearly a quarter of Black Vermonters still live in poverty and the median wealth of a black family is at 1/13th (and widening) of that of a white family.

Please join us in requesting the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development take up testimony and pass H.406 out of committee. The bill offers practical and immediate solutions to addressing some of the economic inequities caused by systemic racism. We must leverage the current budget surplus as an opportunity to take immediate action to address economic inequity caused by systemic racism.

Send an email to members of the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development and ask them to take testimony on the bill and pass it out of committee!

Please also reach out to legislative leadership and ask them to support the work of abolishing slavery and addressing the economic inequalities caused by systemic racism:

Senate President Pro Temp Sen Becca Ballint,
Speaker of the House, Rep Jilll Krowinski,

Last year the legislature committed to doing the “sustained and deep work of eradicating systemic racism throughout the State, actively fighting racist practices, and participating in the creation of more just and equitable systems…” in Act R-113.   Join us in asking them to keep their commitments.

More on abolishing slavery in Vermont

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Become a Legacy Maker

We know that the Black and Brown people languish with higher rates of poverty, lower incomes and dramatically lower median wealth.  The data also tells us that Black and Brown communities are consistently underserved in the areas of housing, education, employment, transportation, economic development, health services and the justice system.  As we urge policy makers to address the economic impact of systemic racism through the passage of H.406, we’re in the process of implementing elements of our proposed strategy in the Old North End of Burlington!

The Richard Kemp Center is a community partnership that includes a Community Center, a Youth Activity Center and Centers of Excellence for Art and Science. Priorities are wellness, youth, cultural empowerment and economic development.  Programming will include Wellness Support, Adult Basic Education, Basic Computer Skills Training, People and Workforce Development, Financial, Home and Land Ownership Education, Entrepreneurial Cultivation Programs, Technical Assistance, Grant Assistance and Youth Programming (including mentoring and tutoring, STEM Development, Arts and Sports).

Please partner with us to do the real work of empowering Black, Brown and poor folks in Vermont.
Push this change button to become a legacy maker!
Thanks!Please Make Checks Payable to:
The Richard Kemp Center
70 S Winooski Ave, Unit 204
Burlington, VT 05401

Here is the uncut first run of one of our newest outreach and education sessions, Definition of Systemic Racism.

About The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance

The mission of the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance is to secure sustainable power, ensure agency and provide security for American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS), while embracing their history and preserving their culture.

Vermont Racial Justice Alliance Leadership and Team

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