Bipartisan Tennessee coalition aims to amend state constitution to ban slavery

"Yes on 3" campaign underway
Posted at 4:40 PM, Jun 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-18 17:40:35-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A bipartisan coalition made up of advocacy groups, pastors, elected officials and others is asking Tennessee to pass Amendment 3 in this year's November 8 elections. The amendment would remove language in the current Tennessee Constitution that still allows slavery to be a legal punishment for a crime.

“I am honored to be leading a nonpartisan coalition to finally address this overlooked part of our State Constitution," said Campaign Director Kathy Chambers. "This campaign is not about right and left, it’s about right and wrong. Slavery has no business anywhere in our state, especially in our highest governing document."

"We’re going to lead this campaign and educate voters on what the amendment will do and how they can make their vote count this November. That begins today by letting voters know that they must also vote in the governor’s election to ensure their ‘yes’ vote for Amendment 3 counts. Vote your conscience or write in the name of your choice — just make sure you don’t skip it!” Chambers said.

“On this Freedom Day, Tennesseans are celebrating the opportunity to finally finish the work of emancipation. We can eliminate the last vestiges of slavery from our state constitution by voting Yes on 3 this November,” said Theeda Murphy, another organizer fighting for the amendment's passage.

The resolution allowing the amendment to be placed on the ballot passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Of 132 elected representatives, only six voted against it.

The sponsor of the resolution was Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis).

“We cannot erase the sins of our past but we can atone and move forward together,” Akbari said.

Members of the coalition will be spreading the word of their campaign at many upcoming Juneteenth ceremonies.

Anyone interested may join the campaign on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok. The group also has a website with more information.