The SEYM Committee for Ministry on Racism asks Monthly and Yearly Meetings to affirm, and publicize, the need for
- The removal of the exception clause of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution which otherwise abolishes slavery; and
- Persons formerly in prison to have full restoration of constitutional rights and typical citizens’ rights and responsibilities (such as freedom from housing and job discrimination).
The 13th Amendment reads:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the Unites States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
We see this in light of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Testimony on Equality and our history of efforts to abolish slavery in the United States and among Quakers. Currently, persons in prisons involuntarily work in what amounts to slavery conditions and leave prison with severely restrictive conditions of freedom that shackle their efforts for normalcy, often for the rest of their lives.
We see this in light of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order removing the exception clause to the 13th Amendment, after which this action did not become law of the land. And we seek this in light of a person without a job seemingly contributing nothing to society, except get that person in prison and that person is worth $30,000-$40,000 per year for corporations using prisoners’ labor.
Submitted by SEYM Committee for Ministry on Racism:
Wendy Clarissa Geiger, Cheryl Demers-Holton, Minerva Glidden, Susan Taylor, Ellie Caldwell