McKinney calls on the Bush
Administration to end discriminatory conduct
toward our Nation's Black Farmers
June 26, 2002
(Washington, DC) - A recent decision by The U.S.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals has unequivocally
confirmed that Black farmers have been doubly
betrayed, first by the United States Department
of Agriculture and then by their own lawyers.
In response to this decision, Congresswoman Cynthia
McKinney today called on President George Bush
and Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman to put
an end to the ongoing legal war against Black
Farmers throughout this country and adequately
compensate them for the losses they have suffered.
"The release of the legal ruling by the
three judge panel of the U.S. District of Columbia
Court of Appeals gives legal credence to our ongoing
outrage and disappointment over the racists and
wrongful actions of the Department of Agriculture
(USDA), Department of Justice (DOJ) and the private
lawyers who represented Black farmers in the Black
Farmer Class Action Lawsuit, Pigford v. Veneman,
which was supposed to right the wrongs of years
of the USDA's self-admitted discrimination
against Black farmers in the Farm Agency's
farm lending programs," stated McKinney.
According to Gary Grant, President of the National
Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association (BFAA),
"The decree was never workable, causing more
than 20,000 Black farmers not be compensated or
not to be compensated adequately for the years
of discrimination and loss of millions of acres
of land and billions of dollars in income because
of the illegal, blatant racist tactics of local
FmHA and USDA officials."
Families have been personally devastated by the
appalling and arrogant actions of the USDA and
their failure to pay legally allowable compensatory
damages. In Gary Grant's situation, three
years ago, OCR signed, sealed and delivered an
agreement in the case of his parents and his brother.
There was legal finding of over 20 years of discrimination
by the Halifax County (NC) FmHA and USDA against
his parents and his brother and wife. Currently,
his family is more than 1 million dollars in debt
to the USDA. While his brother continues to struggle
to hold on to his land, both of his parents have
passed "without seeing a dime of the money
owed to them by USDA," Grant commented.
"I am outraged at the conduct of the US
Department of Agriculture and the United States
Department of Justice Civil Division. The decision
filed by Judge Tatel confirms legally what I have
said for the past three years, these agencies
have never had the intention to correct the horrendous
discrimination against black farmers," stated