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Daily dispatches of news and commentary from the front lines of the democracy movement. We accept original and cross-posted essays, interviews, video, audio, cartoons and other images from people interested in strengthening democracy so it works for all of us. The views are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Common Cause. Please send submissions to Scott Blaine Swenson, Vice President for Communications, at sswenson@commoncause.org.

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Juneteenth Celebration and Reflection

Juneteenth -- the celebration of Emancipation Day a.k.a. America's other Independence Day -- is a good time to reflect on the lingering systemic disenfranchisement that occurred after slavery ended. The prison industry has taken advantage of the “punishment exception” to the 13th Amendment. After the end of slavery, states passed discriminatory laws to arrest and imprison large numbers of freed black people. Incarcerated black people were then leased out or forced to provide free labor to private individuals and corporations. This still occurs today as states across the nation continue to lease out incarcerated people to private corporations.

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