Black Farmers Take Discrimination Case to Congress, USDA
After string of rallies, farmers arrive with corn and seeds bearing message to lawmakers. President acts, now it’s Congress’ turn, says National Black Farmers Association.
Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) February 15, 2010–Black farmers have spoken by the thousands and, on Monday, took their message to the nation’s capital: Congress should act now to remedy decades of discrimination. At an event outside of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, John W. Boyd, Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association (nbfarally.com), recounted his week-long journey through the South holding rallies and gathering support.
Unveiling 538 ears of corn, Boyd promised to deliver one to each member of Congress this week, along with packets of Forget-Me-Not seeds urging lawmakers to make compensation for discrimination–$1.15 billion–part of the 2010 budget. On Feb. 12, President Obama issued a letter to House Speaker Pelosi adding an amendment to remedy discrimination to his 2010-2011 budget. Now, it’s Congress’ turn to act.
“Our long journey to justice should now come to a successful close,” said Boyd. “We have endured many hardships, waited many years and traveled many miles. Now it’s time for Congress to do its part and fund fairness for black farmers.”
Boyd logged more than 1,500 miles traveling to a series of rallies, starting on Feb. 6 in Little Rock, AR and including Memphis, TN; Jackson, MS; Montgomery, AL; Columbus, GA; Columbia, SC and Richmond, VA. The rally in Jackson on Feb. 9, drew approximately 1,200 farmers and supporters. You can view photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nbfarally and videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/NBFARally.
“Thousands of farmers who can’t be in Washington showed their support by traveling long distances through snow and rain to join our rallies,” Boyd said. “We’re here to represent them and get the job done.”
Signs are encouraging. On Thursday, Feb. 4, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responded this way to a question about the black farmers settlement and President Obama: “Clearly, it’s something important to him. It’s been an issue that has been worked on by the federal government now in several different administrations and dating back many years. Obviously, ensuring that justice is done is important in this situation.”
The New York Times led a chorus of newspaper editorials calling for justice: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/08/opinion/08mon3.html?th&emc=th. Boyd himself published this piece in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-w-boyd-jr/justice-is-the-best-stimu_b_449757.html. And elected officials have weighed in with support, including Sen. Jim Webb, Rep. Artur Davis, Rep. Sanford Bishop, Rep. Jim Clyburn, and Rep. Bobby Scott.
Boyd’s next stop is Congress, where he will deliver an ear of corn and packet of Forget-Me-Not seeds to each member while encouraging them to at long last deliver justice to black farmers. For more information, please visit nbfarally.com.
About National Black Farmers Association:
Founded: 1995 by John Boyd, Jr. of Baskerville, VA
John W. Boyd Jr. is a fourth generation farmer as well as one of America’s most effective defenders of civil rights. He has been featured in The Washington Post, “60 Minutes,” “Nightline,” CNN and as ABC News Tonight’s “Person of the Week.” He is a past nominee for the NAACP’s highest honor, The Springarn Award, and currently ranks as one of Ebony Magazine’s most influential African-Americans.
In 1995, Boyd founded the National Black Farmers Association after encountering the US Department of Agriculture’s discriminatory practices first-hand and meeting many more black farmers who shared this experience. Boyd soon led NBFA members in a march on the White House. He went on to meet with President Clinton and to testify before Congress. The plight of black farmers had caught the nation’s attention, but Boyd’s pursuit of justice continues to this day.
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[The American Renaissance article “Who Wants to Be a Black Millionaire?” dealing with efforts to “remedy decades of discrimination,” can be read here.]