CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
The 13th Amendment completed what tent cities and the Emancipation Proclamation set in motion. On December 6, 1865, the U.S. government abolished slavery by amending the Constitution to state, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
Dr. Martin Luther King said that American chattel slavery from 1619 until 1865 was an undoubtedly ugly, horrific, traumatic, oppressive, bigoted institution which has evolved to include BIPOC as well as some of our middle class and poor White American brothers ans sisters. This nation was literally and figuratively built on the backs of hundreds of years of free labor.
After the Civil War, which was the bloodiest war in this nation's history and cost the country as many as 750,000 lives in combat, the Emancipation Proclamation effectively freed over 3 million enslaved men, women, and children from forced plantation bondage. Following that, the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1865 to end the institution of slavery as we knew it. Slavery appeared to be done once and for all, but that amendment, which is still very much the law of the land today, as essential, historic, and groundbreaking as it was, has a poison pill, a trapdoor, an escape clause embedded in its core. With these three words, "except as punishment," the 13th Amendment fell far short of offering our nation a full, complete and true ban on the practice of slavery. Instead, the institution shape-shifted and morphed in peculiar ways — still primarily on black backs, but inside of less offensive systems and structures while adding individuals of different races which made it a much more complicated target.
Forty-seven words. The entire 13th Amendment, one of the most well-known of our entire Constitution, is just 47 words long. It could literally fit on a Post-it note. Yet, about a third of those words aren't about ending slavery, but are shockingly about how and when slavery could receive a wink and a nod to continue. Before the 13th Amendment was ratified, scores of publications and speeches the world over were published by abolitionists describing the horrors of slavery and why the institution must die.
The colonial history, the legacy of enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the U.S remains a serious challenge as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to the truth and reconciliation for the American Descendants of Slavery. Yesterday’s convict leasing, debtor’s prison, and lynching reinforced a narrative of racial difference and a legacy of racial inequality and terror that is readily apparent in our criminal justice system today. A system that disparately impacts our youth! Mass incarceration, racially biased capital punishment, excessive sentencing, disproportionate sentencing of racial minorities, and police abuse of Black Americans reveal problems in our society that were shaped by the terror era yet prevail even today. Such behavior profoundly impacted race relations and shaped the contemporary geographic, political, social, and economic conditions of Black Americans & The American Descendants of Slavery. All of our youth deserve a better future, and we must ask your assistance and support to secure it!
One of our main concerns here in Minneapolis
The Green Party 10 key Values
1. Grassroots Democracy
All human beings must be allowed a say in decisions that affect their lives; no one should be subject to the will of another. We work to improve public participation in every aspect of government and seek to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We also work to create new types of political organizations that expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in decision-making.
2. Social Justice And Equal Opportunity
As a matter of right, all persons must have the opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, any discrimination by race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, religion, or physical or mental ability that denies fair treatment and equal justice under the law.
3. Ecological Wisdom
Human societies must function with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature. We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society that utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end, we must practice agriculture that replenishes the soil, move to an energy-efficient economy, and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.
It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society's current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in danger. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.
Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. We seek a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system controlled by and mostly benefiting the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all.
6. Community-Based Economics
We support redesigning our work structures to encourage employee ownership and workplace democracy. We support developing new economic activities and institutions that allow us to use technology in ways that are humane, freeing, ecological, and responsive and accountable to communities. We support establishing a form of basic economic security open to all. We call for moving beyond the narrow 'job ethic' to new definitions of 'work,' 'jobs' and 'income' in a cooperative and democratic economy. We support restructuring our patterns of income distribution to reflect the wealth created by those outside the formal monetary economy – those who take responsibility for parenting, housekeeping, home gardens, community volunteer work, and the like. We support restricting the size and concentrated power of corporations without discouraging superior efficiency or technological innovation.
7. Feminism And Gender Equity
We have inherited a social system based on the male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as gender equity, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We recognize that the processes for determining our decisions and actions are just as important as achieving the outcomes we want.
8. Respect For Diversity
We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across the human spectrum. We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We encourage respect for all life forms and increased attention to the preservation of biodiversity.
9. Personal And Global Responsibility
We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal wellbeing and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.
10. Future Focus And Sustainability