Slavery still exists in the US
Did you know that slavery still exists in the US and is codified in law? Despite the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution abolishing slavery in 1865
Did you know that slavery still exists in the US and is codified in law? Despite the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution abolishing slavery in 1865, the exception clause in the amendment, "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted," has been exploited throughout history to enslave Black people and other marginalized communities. The criminalization of Black and brown bodies has created a new form of slavery, trapping people in a vicious cycle of poverty, exploitation, and discrimination.
Immediately after the Civil War, states used the exception clause to pass Black Codes, which criminalized Black people, leading to their incarceration and re-enslavement. In this way, slavery didn't end, it just evolved. This trend of exploiting incarcerated individuals for labor continued through Convict Leasing, Chain Gangs, and even Mass Incarceration. Despite being behind bars, these individuals are still forced to work for little to no pay, under the constant threat of punishment. As a result, people of color, especially Black people, are unfairly targeted and incarcerated, leading to a cycle of oppression that has persisted for centuries.
The exception clause in the 13th Amendment highlights the systemic racism that continues to exist in our country today. The fact that people of color are disproportionately incarcerated and forced to work for subminimum wages (paying just 86 cents per day) is unacceptable and goes against the principles of a free society. The theft of over $14 billion in wages from incarcerated workers every year deprives communities affected by mass incarceration of economic stability.
However, change is possible. In the past five years, seven states have abolished slavery through their state constitutions, and there are approximately a dozen states actively organizing toward 2024. This shows that change is possible, and it's time for us to continue fighting for a future where all people are treated equally and with dignity. Let's acknowledge the exception clause in the 13th Amendment and take action to eradicate slavery and involuntary servitude in all forms. Learn more and decide how you will engage at endtheexception.com!