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Justice for Black Farmers: A Conversation to Uproot Racist Policy and Plant Seeds of Redress
October 28, 2021, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm PDT
The introduction of the Justice for Black Farmers Act in 2020 and the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act of 2021 was the first time many Americans learned about the historical and ongoing discrimination against farmers of African descent by local farm service agencies and private entities like banks. Yet, it was only the latest chapter in the long saga of anti-Black racism in American farming. Join a panel of legacy farmers, critical race scholars, and a civil rights lawyer to learn about the grave injustices of the 1999 Pigford v. Glickman class action racial discrimination lawsuit, recent actions by the Biden Administration and Congress to rectify these wrongs, and what you can do to support a more fair and democratic farming system in the United States.
Bernice Atchison, Legacy Farmer from Chilton County, Alabama; Pigford Historian
Bernice C. Atchison of the Black Farmers of Chilton County has been in the fight for justice for Black farmers since 1981 and was a part of the original Pigford v. Glickman case which was settled in 1999. She has been on the forefront of the fight for justice for rural farmers and specifically justice for rural Black farmers. Because of her persistence and willingness to pursue justice for all farmers, many received their share of the In Ree Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation Settlement (Pigford II) in 2012. She was called out as the face most impacted by the injustices of the discrimination by the Department of Agriculture in the Judiciary Hearings in 2004. She has been and continues to be the voice of the disenfranchised Rural Back Farmer.
Angela Provost, Legacy Farmer and Co-Owner of Provost Farm, New Iberia, Louisiana
Angela Provost, a farmer and activist, understands the important role agriculture plays in community development. While consulting with other organizations for the purposes of achieving progressive business models or increasing crop production, she’s also had real-time experience of operating her own farm. That knowledge drives her mission for equity within the global food system.
Carolyn Jones, Legacy Farmer and Executive Director, Mississippi Minority Farmers Alliance
Carolyn Jones is the President and CEO of Mississippi Minority Farmers Alliance, Inc. A community based non-profit organization established by a group of minority farmers who saw a need within the community to come together to preserve the community and legacy of the black farmer. Carolyn works with beginning, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, veteran farmers and ranchers and local communities on issues of sustainability & diversification; land retention; succession planning/heirs’ property management; financial management; marketing and community growth and development.
Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Executive Director of Black Belt Justice Center; Co-Organizer of Black Farmers’ Appeal, Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign
Tracy Lloyd McCurty is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Black Belt Justice Center (BBJC), a legal and advocacy nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and regeneration of African American farmlands and land-based livelihoods through effective legal representation, advocacy, and community education. For over fifteen years, McCurty has served as a legal advocate on a range of issues disparately impacting the African Diaspora community; however, her most cherished work has been in service of multigenerational farm families living on the land in the rural South.
Cheryl I. Harris, Vice Dean for Community Equality and Justice and Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Professor in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, University of California, Los Angeles
Cheryl I. Harris is the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at UCLA School of Law where she teaches Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, Employment Discrimination, Critical Race Theory and Race Conscious Remedies. A graduate of Wellesley College and Northwestern School of Law, Professor Harris began her teaching career in 1990 at Chicago- Kent College of Law after working for one of Chicago’s leading criminal defense firms and later serving as a senior legal advisor in the City Attorney’s office as part of the reform administration of Mayor Harold Washington of Chicago. The interconnections between racial theory, civil rights practice, politics, and human rights have been important to her work. She was a key organizer of several major conferences that helped establish a dialogue between U.S. legal scholars and South African lawyers during the development of South Africa’s first democratic constitution. This work played a significant role in the production of her acclaimed and influential article, “Whiteness as Property” (Harvard Law Review).
Elsadig Elsheikh (Moderator), Director of Global Justice Program, Othering and Belonging Institute, University of California, Berkeley
Elsadig Elsheikh is the Director of the Global Justice Program at the Othering & Belonging Institute, where he oversees the program’s projects on corporate power, food systems, forced migration, inclusiveness index, Islamophobia, and human rights mechanisms; and manages the Shahidi Project, and the Nile Project. Elsadig’s research interests focus on the themes and socio-political dynamics related to state and citizenship; race and corporate power; and measuring social policies of exclusion and inclusion.
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