This week, in honor of our Guest Minister Kiersten Homblette’s sermon Black Lives Matter, I am sharing a letter from all of the active congregational ministers in Colorado on an issue that disproportionately affects communities of color. Please read and share this message among your friends in Colorado, as chances to change over 100 years of oppression and fight the ugly legacy of slavery doesn’t happen very often. Thank you for reading and reflecting, and feel free to reach out with questions!
Rev. Shawna Foster
During the election this November you will notice a ballot measure called No Exception to Involuntary Servitude Prohibition Amendment. It will appear as Amendment T.
As the Unitarian Universalist ministers in Colorado, we urge you to vote YES on this measure.
We know that slavery is not a Colorado value. But for more than a century our state constitution has preserved the right of the state to enslave people as punishment for a crime. This archaic and hurtful language must be removed.
You may be asking yourself, what impact might this have on people who are currently incarcerated? The measure will not end prison terms as punishment for crimes committed in our state, but it will help us move forward the conversation about what justice truly looks like in our communities. There are many conversations to be had about what justice looks like, but we believe that we can all agree, that no matter what conclusion we come to about the appropriate measures to address crimes, our response should never include slavery.
As Unitarian Universalists we hold dear our heritage of abolitionists who fought to end slavery in the 19th century. Ministers like Theodore Parker who is reputed to have kept a pistol in his desk to protect runaway slaves. We are called to continue his heroic work by standing against slavery today.
We believe that by changing the way we talk about what prison is, and why people are there, we can begin to change the conversations and outcomes and move toward right relationship in our communities.
Amending Section 26 of Article II
Section 26. Slavery prohibited.
There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.
For more information, see these links:
Yours in faith,
Rev. Keith Arnold, Jefferson Unitarian Church
Rev. Eric Banner, Jefferson Unitarian Church
Rev. Barry Bloom, Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley
Rev. Kelly Dignan, Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder
Rev. Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry, Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Rev. Shawna Foster, Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist
Rev. Gretchen Haley, Foothills Unitarian Church
Rev. Jann Halloran, Prairie Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. Wendy Jones, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley
Rev. Katie Kandarian, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango
Rev. Laurel Liefert, Namaqua Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Rev. Dana Lightsey, High Plains Church, Unitarian Universalist
Rev Julia McKay, Columbine Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. Mike Morran, First Unitarian Society of Denver
Sean Neil-Barron, Assistant Minister, Foothills Unitarian Church
Aaron Norris, Ministerial Resident, First Universalist Church of Denver
Rev. Nori Rost, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. Jeannie Shero, First Universalist Church of Denver