Burlington, VT — This Autumn, Vermonters will vote on Proposition 2, which would amend the constitution to officially ban slavery. On Friday, members from the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance and the Vermont Interfaith Action organizations backing Prop 2 launched a campaign calling on people statewide to vote ‘Yes’.
Mark Hughes, the Executive Director of Vermont Racial Justice Alliance says this is an important step in the fight for racial equality. “What we are here to do is start telling a new story and I think the story starts here,” said Hughes. Hughes says the reason for Prop 2 is that there is still an exception for slavery in the constitution.
“One of those instances is if the person is under the age of 21, another is if its at a person’s own consent, and the last one is if one is being punished if one is unable to pay ones own debts or fines,” said Hughes.
The proposed change would strike the current language to say slavery and indentured servitude in any form are prohibited.
“Its important for me to be here because if feel strongly that we must transform the language of the vermont constitution to really firmly and sincerely value with integrity that slavery is not appropriate for any extention of the human family,” said Rajnii Eddins of Burlington.
“I am a man of equality it is important in a society for everyone to feel equal and be respected it doesn’t matter what race you pertain,” said Jean-Christian-Adrien of Colchester.
Karla Kelley, a mother of three, says it’s alarming that the language in the state constitution still allows for slavery. “It sucks, it feels like we have been lied to all our lives. I always call it learned behavior, because we teach our children the same thing but if you teach our children the right thing to do the world would be a better place.”
Prop 2 will appear on the ballot this November and the organizations are hoping to convince Vermonters to vote for change.