Colorado UU Ministers Urge “Yes on T”

Unitarian Universalist ministers have freedom of the pulpit. Using that freedom, the congregational UU ministers of the State of Colorado have made a unanimous statement on Amendment T.  

Yes on T

During the election this November you will notice a ballot measure called No Exception to Involuntary Servitude Prohibition Amendment.  It will appear as Amendment T.  

As the Unitarian Universalist ministers in Colorado, we urge you to vote YES on this measure.

We know that slavery is not a Colorado value. But for more than a century our state constitution has preserved the right of the state to enslave people as punishment for a crime. This archaic and hurtful language must be removed.

You may be asking yourself, what impact might this have on people who are currently incarcerated? The measure will not end prison terms as punishment for crimes committed in our state, but it will help us move forward the conversation about what justice truly looks like in our communities. There are many conversations to be had about what justice looks like, but we believe that we can all agree, that no matter what conclusion we come to about the appropriate measures to address crimes, our response should never include slavery.

As Unitarian Universalists we hold dear our heritage of abolitionists who fought to end slavery in the 19th century. Ministers like Theodore Parker who is reputed to have kept a pistol in his desk to protect runaway slaves. We are called to continue his heroic work by standing against slavery today.

We believe that by changing the way we talk about what prison is, and why people are there, we can begin to change the conversations and outcomes and move toward right relationship in our communities.

The measure would amend Section 26 of Article II of the Colorado Constitution. The following struck-through text would be deleted-

Amending Section 26 of Article II

Section 26. Slavery prohibited.

There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

 

For more information, see these links:

https://ballotpedia.org/Colorado_No_Exception_to_Involuntary_Servitude_Prohibition_Amendment_(2016)

http://www.leg.state.co.us/LCS/Initiative%20Referendum/1516initrefr.nsf/b74b3fc5d676cdc987257ad8005bce6a/5b952eebc473f09087257fae00790648/$FILE/SCR%2016-006v2.pdf

http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/vote/VoterHome.html

 

Yours in faith,

Rev. Keith Arnold, Jefferson Unitarian Church

Rev. Eric Banner, Jefferson Unitarian Church

Rev. Barry Bloom, Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley

Rev. Kelly Dignan, Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder

Rev. Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry, Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Rev. Shawna Foster, Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist

Rev. Gretchen Haley, Foothills Unitarian Church

Rev. Jann Halloran, Prairie Unitarian Universalist Church

Rev. Wendy Jones, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley

Rev. Katie Kandarian, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango

Rev. Laurel Liefert, Namaqua Unitarian Universalist Congregation

Rev. Dana Lightsey, High Plains Church, Unitarian Universalist

Rev Julia McKay, Columbine Unitarian Universalist Church

Rev. Mike Morran, First Unitarian Society of Denver

Sean Neil-Barron, Assistant Minister, Foothills Unitarian Church

Aaron Norris, Ministerial Resident, First Universalist Church of Denver

Rev. Nori Rost, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church

Rev. Jeannie Shero, First Universalist Church of Denver

Rev. Wendy Williams, Jefferson Unitarian Church