Amendment C: What Does It Mean to Abolish Slavery from Utah’s Constitution in 2020?

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour — This week on the program, we air a panel on the effort to remove slavery from the Utah Constitution through Amendment C. This amendment was put before Utah voters by HJR8, which passed the Utah legislature earlier this year with bipartisan support.

In 2020, Utahns voted on seven different amendments to the Utah constitution, all of which passed. Amendment C passed by the widest margin, garnering nearly 81 percent of the record voter turnout in Utah. The amendment will formally remove language referencing slavery as a potential punishment for a crime from the state’s constitution. This exception for slavery has been a part of the Utah code over 150 years after slavery was abolished in the United States, except as a punishment for a crime.   

Today’s panel takes a closer look at how this newly adopted amendment came to the ballot and what it means for Utah moving forward. The panelists include Rep. Sandra Hollins, member of the Utah Legislature; Sen. Jacob Anderegg, member of the Utah Legislature; Dr. William A. Smith, professor and department chair of Education, Culture and Society at the University of Utah; Kamau Allen, an organizer for the Abolish Slavery National Network; and Erin Castro, founder and co-director of the University of Utah Prison Education Project. Moderating the discussion is Liz Adeola, host and producer at PBS.

This forum was put on in partnership with the Utah Coalition to Abolish Slavery, with special thanks to Ross Chambless, former producer and host of this program, for his work orchestrating this event.

This forum was recorded on October 26, 2020.

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