Formerly incarcerated leaders ban slavery in Tennessee


November 9, 2022

On November 8, formerly incarcerated leaders succeeded in banning slavery in Tennessee with the passage of Constitutional Amendment 3.

Leading with Conviction 2017 graduate Dawn Harrington is Executive Director of Free Hearts, which successfully led the “Vote Yes on 3” campaign mobilizing voters to ban slavery and involuntary servitude once and for all. 2022 graduate Keeda Haynes also serves as Senior Legal Counsel at Free Hearts.

Amendment 3 will remove language allowing slavery from the Tennessee Constitution and replace it with the statement, “Slavery and involuntary servitude are forever prohibited.” Tennessee is one of four states—including Alabama, Oregon, and Vermont—where criminal justice reform advocates and directly impacted leaders successfully organized to ban slavery in the midterm elections. Louisiana voted against a constitutional amendment to ban slavery.

Free Hearts is an organization led by formerly incarcerated women that provides support, education, and advocacy in organizing families impacted by incarceration, with the ultimate goals of reuniting families and keeping families together.

(Photo by Free Hearts)