Friends, we were just advised a couple of hours ago that the life sentence bill, SB 795, has been taken off notice for the Senate Judiciary calendar tomorrow. We do not know the details yet and we will be going to the legislature tomorrow to gather additional information. If you were planning to attend the hearing, you no longer need to show up.
We do not know if or when it will be put back on notice, and we will keep you informed as we learn the details. Your calls have definitely made a difference. Senate staffers reported to us that they’ve received literally hundreds of phone calls in support of this bill. So, if you are frustrated—as we are frustrated—then call members of the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow, tell them you still support this bill, and tell them that you would like to know why it has been taken off notice, and what you can do to ensure that it is put back on the calendar. As always, be polite, respectful, and firm when you make your calls. We know that justice will not happen overnight, and the only way that it will occur is if we continue to fight together for a true justice system.
Article 1 Section 33 of the Tennessee Constitution reads: “That slavery and involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, are forever prohibited in this state.” We the undersigned individuals and organizations believe that the time is long overdue for the State of Tennessee, and indeed the United States of America, to permanently abolish all forms of slavery with no exceptions. To that end we call on the Tennessee Legislature, the Governor, and the citizens of Tennessee to amend Section 33 to henceforth read “That slavery and involuntary servitude are forever prohibited in this state.” The only moral response to slavery is abolition, and we refuse to continue to participate in this immoral order which is nothing short of a crime against humanity.
Children’s Defense Fund
Dawn Deaner, elected Public Defender Nashville
Harriet Tubman House
H & S Farm
Human Rights Defense Center
Just City, Memphis
Mercy Junction, Chattanooga
NAACP – Nashville Branch
No Exceptions Prison Collective
Open Table Nashville
Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth & Reconciliation
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
Ava DuVernay’s timely and compelling documentary, 13th, traces the history of American slavery history through chattel slavery, the convict lease system, Jim Crow, and today’s carceral slavery through mass incarceration. If you attended the October 26th Screening of 13th and Panel Discussion, you are invited to complete this survey.
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