The USDA Coalition of Minority Employees was founded in 1994 to address discrimination within the United States Department of Agriculture. The biggest coalition accomplishment thus far is the passing of the American Rescue Plan from President Joe Biden in 2021 which creates a multi-billion dollar fund for socially disadvantaged farmers throughout the United States. The coalition has worked alongside Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker to create the Justice for Black Farmers Act, which will go on to give even more aid to socially disadvantaged farmers.
The number of black farmers in America peaked in 1920, when there were 949,889. Today, of the country’s 3.4 million total farmers, only 1.3%, or 45,508, are black, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture in 2019. By comparison, 95% of US farmers are white.
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For this "Speak The Truth" special on the challenges and opportunities facing the Black farmers in America, Host Harold Bell and Moderator Lawrence Lucas as they welcome our special guest Corey Lea, Executive Director of The Cowtown Foundation, Inc., and several Black Farmers. Featured clips include Senators Raphael Warnock and Corey Booker (the Addendum at the end of the video) questioning US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
John Boyd, Jr., Founder and President, National Black Farmers Association, is a 4th generation Black Farmer in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Boyd sued the US Dept of Agriculture (USDA) and received a Fact of Finding for Racial Discrimination Based on Race Black which led to the 1st USDA Discrimination settlement by an individual. Boyd went on to assist 10,000s of other Black and minority farmers to file discrimination complaints, lawsuits and class actions against USDA. KJ "Skippa Mak" Marley, son of Kymani Marley, is an international hip-hop artist infusing reggae and dancehall, while invoking the unmistakable musical spirit of his legendary grandfather Bob Marley to speak Truth to Power.
Justice for Black Farmers: The Law, Policy, and Politics of Debt Cancellation. The Department of Agriculture’s civil rights record is among the worst in the federal government. Black farmers have lost hundreds of billions in land and income since 1910 in large part due to federal policies—implemented by USDA—designed to drive them out of business. Panelists: Lawrence Lucas, President Emeritus, USDA Coalition of Minority Employees Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Executive Director and more.
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