From Rolling Stone:

The Covid relief package is providing a platform for a historic Senate newcomer to deliver for a long-struggling constituency: black farmers. Led by Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Senate Democrats are touting a $5 billion provision in the relief bill that will wipe out federal debts for farmers of color, and invest in reforms to help these farmers build generational wealth by keeping their family farms in the family.

On a call with reporters Wednesday, Warnock celebrated the inclusion of the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act in the $1.9 trillion Covid package. Warnock said Democrats were acting to “ensure equity in our recovery efforts and address longstanding injustices that have left some communities behind for far too long.” The newly elected Warnock, who is the first black senator to serve from Georgia, underscored that this federal assistance “will not only help farmers of color, but will also lift up the economies of our rural communities working to recover from the economic turndown.”

Black farmers have long faced overt and systemic racism, not only from private lenders but from the federal government. (The class-action Pigford settlements between the USDA and black farmers covered pervasive Civil Rights violations from 1983 to 2010.) Owing to this discrimination, and other factors, many small, black-owned farms have not had clear deed and ownership structures that allow them to be passed down in tact, often creating fractional ownership that hampers operations or make the farms easy pickings for predatory lenders and/or for consolidation by corporate agribusiness.

Let’s make sure we get ready to send Warnock back to the Senate next year. Click here to donate and get involved with Warnock’s re-election campaign.

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