The legacy of slavery is the cornerstone of systemic racism in this country. This November, Vermont voters will consider Proposal 2, an amendment to Article 1 of the Vermont Constitution that would explicitly prohibit slavery in all forms.
Our state constitution currently includes an “exception clause” that technically makes slavery and involuntary servitude constitutional under certain circumstances. Proposal 2 would remove this clause and add language to explicitly prohibit slavery in all forms—no exceptions—and rightfully make any form of indentured servitude unconstitutional.
Vermont prides itself on values of freedom, liberty, justice, unity, and equality for all. By voting yes on Proposal 2, you can help bring our state one step closer to upholding those values. As Vermont’s foundational legal document, it is imperative that the state constitution aligns with our values and beliefs—especially with regard to racism, justice, and equality.
White supremacy and racial injustice are deeply embedded in the fabric of our democracy. Systemic racism is still evident throughout Vermont: in daily interactions in our communities and in our schools, in access to employment, housing, health care, and in our criminal legal system. Our work to identify, address, and heal these deep injustices is only just getting started.
Amending our state constitution to clarify that slavery is prohibited in all forms, without exception, sends an important message that we are serious about addressing racial inequality and injustice. It says that Vermont has the will and the capacity to change for the better. By acknowledging and accounting for our past, we can build a foundation for our future that centers equity and justice for all of us.
Vermonters proudly proclaim that “Hate has no home here.” Let’s make those words count. It’s time to remove language in our constitution that enables slavery and indentured servitude, and explicitly prohibit all forms of slavery in our state.
Vote yes on Proposal 2 to support Vermont’s commitment to realizing justice and equality for all.
To learn more about Proposal 2, visit www.abolishslaveryvt.org.