FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
19 October 2011
JOIN BLACK FARMERS AS THEY OCCUPY DC’S FRANKLIN PARK ON 10/24/11: BLACK FARMERS STILL AWAIT JUSTICE
Contrary to popular belief, Black farmers in the United States still have not received justice. Despite media reports to the contrary, not a single Pigford I farmer has received justice. Pigford I farmers are the original Black farmers who filed discrimination cases against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) resulting in the USDA acknowledgement of systemic and persistent intentional discrimination against Black farmers that had the result of the loss of approximately 13 million acres of Black-owned land. At stake today is approximately 1.5 million of the last remaining 3 million acres of Black-owned land.
Approximately 30% of the farmers who are the original complainants against discrimination, and to whom USDA apologized, but because of various schemes and maneuvers of USDA, now face acceleration of collection of debt, foreclosure, or bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure, and the loss of their land, farms, and way of life. These farmers are also being unfairly subjected to offsets on their social security income, tax returns, railroad pensions, and other government payments.
Earlier this year, President Obama signed legislation to settle Pigford II claims while completely ignoring the plight of current farmers who actually experienced and continue to experience the discrimination acknowledged by USDA. Pigford II claims are the claims of discrimination filed by the non-farming heirs of farmers or those (including their heirs) who attempted to farm but were denied access to resources by the USDA. This legislation, called by some a “settlement” ignores the original class of farmers whose land is still in jeopardy and whose persecution due to ongoing discrimination is real.
Black farmers will be in Washington, DC’s Franklin Park on 24 October 2011 from 9:00 am to noon. All are invited to Occupy Franklin Park with the Black Farmers of the American Agriculturalist Association.
Eddie Slaughter, Pigford I Farmer 229-649-2243 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucious Abrams, Pigford I Farmer 706-829-0710 email@example.com
Cecil Brewington, Pigford I Farmer 910-620-5365 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cynthia McKinney, Black Farmer Advocate, email@example.com