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Poets, activists express concern about language in Alabama’s constitution

Sunday marked 155th anniversary of the 13th amendment
Updated: Dec. 7, 2020 at 7:52 AM EST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Slavery may have been abolished in 1865 through the 13th amendment by congress. Still, a group known as the Abolish Slavery National Network (ASNN) believes one line in the Alabama state constitution left the door open for slavery to continue in 2020.

A part of article 1, section 32 of the state’s constitution says, “otherwise than for the punishment of crime, of which the party shall have been duly convicted.”

The ASNN says this excerpt has made slavery possible in 2020 through mass incarceration and other forms.

Co-director of ASNN Max Parthas says this is something that many are miseducated about.

“If it were a disease and many people were dying from it, the entire world would be going crazy, but because its black men and women going to prison, nobody cares, and that’s not acceptable in my book,” Parthas said.

The organization held an event Sunday called “Slavery by Another Name,” where poets and activist voiced their concerns.

Co-director Savannah Eldridge says it will take events like these to educate people on this issue and bring about change.

“I think the key is having these town halls in different cities having this information sections getting with historians alike getting with them making sure they’re educating the young people and getting with our legislators and making sure they have the power to make change,” Eldridge said.

In the last two years, the abolish slavery national network has been instrumental in removing pro-slavery language from three states. Nine states have ballot initiatives to do the same in 2021 through 2022.

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