My fellow conservatives, let's embrace the spirit of Juneteenth

Meanwhile, in prisons across the country, incarcerated people work under threat of force for pennies an hour. In places like Angola Prison in Louisiana, wardens ride on horses through fields of mostly Black men picking crops in the heat. If that sounds like the pictures of slavery we learned about in school, that’s because it is.

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For this we can thank an exception in the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery except for as a form of punishment. According to Right on Crime, states spend more than $50 billion per year on prisons. This excessive government spending is fueled by the idea that punishment is the only way to respond when someone makes a mistake. And it tends to disproportionately respond to Black peoples’ mistakes. Does that make any of us more free?

But what if we as conservatives were to refocus our attention and resources on restoration, rehabilitation, services for victim’s family members and equipping local communities to be best equipped to serve as violence interventionists and preventers?

As conservatives, we must ask ourselves this pressing question: Is freedom really a cornerstone of the American Dream if it isn’t accessible to everyone? If people of color are still feeling victimized by our justice system, then the message of this Juneteenth cannot be a celebration of freedom alone. The message must also be we still have work to do to realize our dream.

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