We are 9th grade students at Patrick Henry High School and writing to shed light on an issue we care about. That is one of the sections of the Minnesota State Constitution that addresses slavery and involuntary servitude in the state. We would like community support to change this language and am working to put a Constitutional Amendment on the 2020 General Election ballot to do so.
Specifically, we request House legislation that would place a Constitutional language change on the 2020 General Election ballot. Currently, Section II of Article I reads: “Sec. 2. Rights and privileges. No member of this state shall be disfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the state otherwise than as punishment for a crime of which the party has been convicted.” We wish to see “otherwise than as punishment for a crime of which the party has been convicted” stricken from the Minnesota State Constitution.
This change is necessary because inmates don’t deserve to be treated like slaves. That’s why we should take out the sentence” otherwise than as punishment for a crime of which the party has been convicted.” It basically says there is still slavery. Slavery was supposed to have ended with the 13th Amendment. It is wrong, even if used as a punishment because convicted criminals are still human and shouldn’t be treated as less than human. They have no privileges or freedom. Will they ever get justice?
In the 2018 election, voters in the state of Colorado voted affirmatively to make a similar change to their constitution. Let’s have Minnesotans follow their lead and change the Minnesota State Constitution to remove this loophole language.
If you would like to see this same change, we encourage you to write to your Minnesota State Representative and request that an amendment to our state constitution be put on the 2020 General Election ballot. We can make this change if enough of us raise our voices and elevate the need for change.