This article by Jennifer Weaver originally appeared on kutv.com. Read it in its entirety here.
The Utah Coalition to Abolish Slavery formally kicked off an education campaign for an amendment to the Utah Constitution that prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishments for those convicted of crimes.
Public officials, religious leaders, and historians conducted a press conference at the Utah State Capitol on Tuesday about the significance of removing the 144-year-old language with Amendment C, which will be on the November ballot.
If approved by Utah voters, Amendment C will remove the exception for slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime and make clear that the change does not affect the otherwise lawful administration of the criminal justice system.
A similar amendment is on the 2020 ballot in Nebraska. Amendment C in Utah is widely supported by both the state Republican and Democratic parties.
Dr. Steve Bell, University of Utah professor, said at the education campaign press conference:
Three score and one year ago, my parents welcomed into this world and the state of Utah, me, the second son. I appropriated this famous phrase for its unmistakable and historical value for these United States as four score and seven years ago spoken by President Lincoln sparks the memory to recall the battle, and battles, to end slavery.
Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, was in attendance and said he supports the amendment adding, “I don’t have a problem getting rid of this. Let’s see what we need to do.”
The Utah Coalition to Abolish Slavery includes:
- ACLU of Utah, Action Utah,
- The Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society,
- Alliance for a Better Utah,
- Greater Salt Lake Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Iota Iota Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.,
- NAACP (Salt Lake City Chapter),
- NAACP (Ogden Chapter),
- Sema Hadithi African American Heritage and Culture Foundation,
- Upsilon Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.,
- Utah Black Roundtable.
For more information about Amendment C, click here.