The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
From the Rockies to the Races: Why College Students Are Joining the Celebrity-Packed  Kentucky Derby
From the Rockies to the Races: Why College Students Are Joining the Celebrity-Packed Kentucky Derby
April 24, 2024

The Kentucky Derby, often celebrated as “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” transcends mere horse racing to become a staple of American...

Abolish slavery in Colorado: Vote ‘Yes’ on Amendment A

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.
 

This November, Amendment A aims to improve the state of  Colorado by striking slavery from its constitution. While not practiced actively, slavery is still technically legal ,and by explicitly prohibiting it in law, we can take a step toward ensuring that it never returns.

It is no doubt surprising to some that slavery could still be legal in Colorado. In public schools, most students are taught that the 13th Amendment ended slavery in 1865. While this is true, the 13th Amendment still allowed for slavery if one was duly convicted of a crime. When Colorado became a state in 1876, it modeled its own constitution after the one established federally.

Ad

Article II, Section 26 of the Colorado Constitution states that, “There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude except as a punishment for crime… ” (Emphasis added). In layman’s terms, one can only be enslaved if they are first duly convicted of a crime.

In many ways, this statue embodies the state of Colorado over the past century, constantly caught between progress and constancy. We are a state constantly in flux and at war with ourselves and our status as a swing state is reflective of such.

But there comes a time when old things are to be done away with. Abolishing slavery from the Constitution of the United States would be emblematic of such. It would reveal to the watching world that we have reached a period of reflection and reconciliation.

Just as importantly, a move like this could show the vulnerable, disenfranchised and minoritized communities of Colorado that they have a promising future ahead of them. After all, it can be quite worrying to reside in Colorado knowing the state once had the second largest Ku Klux Klan presence in the country.

Amendment A can also help to remove the dark cloud of political divisiveness that currently looms over the nation. If there is anything reasonable citizens can agree on, it is that any allowance for slavery is unacceptable, immoral and an affront to human dignity.

If what Martin Luther King Jr. declared is true and, “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” then we ought to act. We ought to make sure that the freedom and dignity of all human beings are respected and protected, or risk jeopardizing our own.

“An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

Make no mistake, allowances for slavery are anything but benign. In the wake of the 13th Amendment, many states made concerted efforts to begin criminalizing Black people. This allowed for slavery to still survive and for the mass incarceration of Black people to begin.

Mass incarceration becomes even more nefarious when one realizes the extent to which prisoner labor keeps our society running. The extent any of this labor is actually contributing to the rehabilitation of the incarcerated person is highly questionable.

Amendment A may be the first step in rethinking the American prison industrial complex. It can help us to dismantle a system which disproportionately affects people of color. It is a symbol that we as a people are committed to the freedom and equality of our fellow man.

Ad

Arisson Stanfield can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @OddestOdyssey.
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *