Slavery is a Crime Against Humanity

Abolish Slavery Vermont!  

From our proposals for oversight of the criminal justice system (Act 54, 2017) and racial equity (Act 9, 2018, Sp) to the Health Equity Bill (Act 33, 2021)and Declarations of racism being a public health emergency we have successfully moved policy at the statewide level to address systemic racism.  Our work in Burlington is reflected in the successful implementation and expansion of the Racial Equity Inclusion and Belonging Office and standing City Council Committee, the Reparations Taskforce and more.  All of this work has been accompanied by a robust outreach and education effort and a strong community engagement and support effort.  We have also implemented numerous cultural empowerment initiatives including the flagship First African Landing Day (a commemoration of American Descendants of Slavery since 1619).  We now are in the implementation phase of the Richard Kemp Center.

Absolutely nothing in our work has been more important than the work that we initiated in 2018 to amend the Vermont constitution to prohibit slavery and indentured servitude in all forms!  To be clear, this amendment was initiated because we discovered language in Article 1 of the Vermont constitution that provides exceptions to the prohibition of slavery. The Vermont Constitution slavery exception clauses state:

“…no person born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to be holden by law, to serve any person as a servant, slave or apprentice, after arriving to the age of twenty-one years, unless bound by the person’s own consent, after arriving to such age, or bound by law for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like.” 

It is important to note that we also discovered an exception clause in the 13th amendment of the US constitution that permits slavery. 

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

I am sure that you will agree that slavery has no place in Vermont or our nation. The United Nations posits that systemic racism is the legacy of slavery.  It is our responsibility to uproot this institution as we continue the work in eradicating systemic racism in Vermont. The legislature has spoken on the matter by passing the amendment through both chambers in two consecutive Biennium accompanied by two House-led public hearings.  Now it is time to hear from the people through a ballot question in November – Proposal 2.  The Proposal 2 constitutional amendment question is simple.  Should we amend the Vermont state constitution with the following language?  

“slavery and indentured servitude in any form are prohibited.”

The United Nations has established slavery as a crime against humanity.  There are no circumstances under which it should exist.  None.

Join the effort in lifting off this campaign to take this question to the ballot in November.  Become an abolitionist!

Here are a few ways you can help

1. Show up at the events listed below
2.  Sign up to volunteer at one of the events
3.  Support this effort with financial support – Give
4. Visit our site –
Don’t miss part II of “Slavery By Another Name” on Thursday, June 16 at the Richard Kemp Center, on Zoom and streaming on our fb page.


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