Black leaders want to remove slavery references from Utah constitution

The bill passed the House, but now it needs to pass the Utah state senate in order to be on the ballot.

House Rep. Sandra Hollins of Salt Lake City sponsored a bill, Amendment C, that includes the removal of slavery references from Utah’s founding documents. The bill passed in the state legislature.

“This language in our constitution, it was written 32 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. It should never have been placed in our constitution,” Hollins told FOX 13. “It no longer reflects Utah values. It’s not who we are as a state.”

The bill, which is backed by a coalition of community groups, including the NAACP, the Utah Black Roundtable, Action Utah, the Alliance for a Better Utah, and the Greater Salt Lake Alumnae of Delta Sigma Teta, will need to be passed by voters in the community.

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On the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington, Aug. 18, hundreds were reported to have marched through Salt Lake City, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Local residents wearing Black Lives Matter shirts rallied for racial equality and police reform.

Utah State Capitol Building (via Google Maps Street View)

“Register to vote! You can do it on your phone. Go vote!” longtime community activist Darlene McDonald told the crowd, according to The Tribune. “The 13th Amendment did get rid of slavery but not in its entirety,” she said.

“Slavery should not be a part of the Utah constitution or any constitution in this country, especially in 2020,” she continued.

“I do anticipate some pushback, yes, because of the criminal justice system. And prison labor and corporations using prison labor for cheap labor. That’s the reason why we anticipate some pushback.”

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The bill has to go through the state senate, which is controlled by Utah Republicans.

Luckily for Black activists, Sen. Jake Anderegg, a Republican, sponsored her bill in the state Senate, hoping it would encourage his colleagues to vote for the amendment on Election Day.

“Removing this outdated provision sends a strong, bipartisan statement about our values as citizens of Utah,” Anderegg said.

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