A long history of discrimination and mistreatment will be reconciled, as a pair of bills to help Black farmers to survive the coronavirus pandemic were put forth by several Democratic senators this week, according to The Hill.
The Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act was introduced on Monday by democratic senators Raphael Warnock (Ga.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Ben Ray Luján (N.M.) and Cory Booker (N.J.), and the Justice for Black Farmers Act, which was discussed during the previous session of Congress in November, was announced by Booker, Warnock and some other senators.
A considerable amount of $1 billion will be provided to root out the racism within the Department of Agriculture and another $4 billion will be provided with the emergency relief bill in direct payment for farmers of color. Booker said that a great injustice was made to Black families, as they were robbed of the ability to build and pass their wealth to generations.
“When it comes to farming and agriculture, we know that there is a direct connection between discriminatory policies within the USDA and the enormous land loss we have seen among Black farmers over the past century,” said Booker in a statement about the Justice for Black Farmers Act.
Sen. William Cowan (D-Mass.) was the first Black senator to be a part of the Senate Agriculture Committee for five months in 2013, as he replaced Sen. John Kerry when he was named secretary of State, but Booker and Warnock are the first elected senators to serve this panel.
The president of the National Black Farmers Association John Boyd, who is also a well-known advocate who for years has fought for Black farmers in Washington, said that the bills are “a huge step in the right direction.” The executive director of the National Black Growers Council, Dewayne Goldmon said that the bills were the “most comprehensive” pieces of legislation he’d seen, that are addressing the inequity of Black farmers.