Author Topic: PAY UP from the New York Times  (Read 1175 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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PAY UP from the New York Times
« on: February 08, 2010, 12:37:54 am »
Pay Up

 Published: February 7, 2010

Claimants are still looking for their money, more than a decade after the federal Department of Agriculture reached a landmark settlement for having cheated generations of black farmers through “indifference and blatant discrimination.” The 1999 agreement on what is known as the Pigford class-action lawsuit was hailed as the biggest civil rights settlement in American history. The judge estimated a swift $2 billion payout — or $60,000 each — for victimized black farmers.

It has not worked out that way, as the White House’s new budget confirms with a request for $1.15 billion to pay still-pending claims from black farmers. The same amount was requested last year but did not survive the self-interested knives and elbows of the Congressional budget scrum.

The class-action suit detailed how eligible black farmers traditionally were denied loans by the agriculture agency while their white peers went to the head of the line for growing-season wherewithal and homestead improvements.

After the settlement, some farmers got their money, but far too many ran into a new buzz saw. They were stalled and rejected through paperwork technicalities, tight deadlines and a lengthy appeals process that officials insisted was necessary. There was early confusion within the Obama administration about whether the settlement process had been capped, but Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack insists no; the aim, he says, is to finally “close this unfortunate chapter.”

Pigford v. Glickman has not resonated across the land like Brown v. Board of Education, but the very same history of crippling injustice is at its heart. The Pigford settlement will remain a misnomer until the nation rights this historic injustice and pays what it owes.

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: PAY UP from the New York Times
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2010, 02:22:17 pm »
Update:
Hope, worry about settlement of discrimination suit with black farmers
By Krissah Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 26, 2010


Now that black farmers have reached a new settlement in their massive discrimination lawsuit against the federal government, other minorities and female farmers are watching the case closely in hopes of getting similar grievances addressed.

Congress has yet to come up with $1.15 billion to fulfill the agreement black farmers reached last week with the Agriculture and Justice departments. It has set aside $100 million as an initial payout of what is known as the Pigford case.

In anticipation of the settlement, President Obama asked for the $1.15 billion in his budget request this month. The agreement is years in coming, and congressional leaders generally support the move. But the House Appropriations Committee has just begun looking at the White House's request, and there is no timetable for approving the money.

Complete article here.
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