NAACP URGES U.S. CONGRESS TO PROVIDE FULL FUNDING FOR PIGFORD II BLACK FARMERS
BILL ALSO CONTAINS REPAYMENT UNDER THE COBELL SETTLEMENT OF LOST ROYALTY FUNDS FOR THE MISMANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES ON AMERICAN INDIAN LANDS
In February of this year the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Justice announced a settlement to provide as many as 70,000 African American farmers, many of whom suffered blatant racial discrimination at the hands of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for decades, with cash damage awards and debt relief. This settlement is known as the Pigford II settlement. Sadly, to date the United States Congress has yet to appropriate the $1.25 billion necessary to fund Pigford II. These claims cannot even begin to be investigated, let alone settled, until after Congress has appropriated the funding. Funding for the Pigford settlement had been approved by the US House on July 1, 2010, but the money was stripped by the U.S. Senate on June 22, 2010.
Also still to be funded is an agreement between the US Department of Interior and Native American Indians over centuries of land abuse and mismanagement by the US government and lost royalty funds. This settlement, known as Cobell, needs approximately $1.41 billion.
There is an urgency to pass this appropriation to settle the class action lawsuits of African-American farmers and Native Americans. Many of the farmers who would qualify for monies under the settlement have waited as long as 10 years to be compensated; some have already died or lost their farms. After years of discriminatory treatment by USDA credit and program agencies, these farm families have already waited almost a decade for compensation for these well-established claims. It is time to allow these farmers to focus on the future, and move forward unencumbered by the racial discrimination of the past.
THE NAACP URGES THE HOUSE AND SENATE TO ACT DURING THE “LAME DUCK” SESSION TO FULLY FUND THE PIGFORD II AND COBELL SETTLEMENTS. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!!!