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"Slow Walking?" Or, Why Has It Taken So Long, Mr. Secretary?

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The wheels of justice grind slowly. The wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly. While the grind is slow and painful, people are dying, losing their land, percentages of their retirement funds and social security taken, and still we are told to wait. Wait, patience, your time will come, all equate to the disaster of never.

Judge Friedman certified black farmers as a class in 1999 and called it "The Pigford Class Action Suit." Check out my writings from 2008 and 2018 for more details.

Some 22,551 applied for entry into Track A. Those who prevailed under this track numbered 16,281. Most of them found some sort of "justice," mostly a $50,000 payment, some with a check for taxes, and a few actually received debt relief. Those prevailing under Track B numbered 137. From both of these tracks, the paltry number of 371... let that sink in... 371 received debt relief. That's what black farmers needed and wanted, not the pitiful amount of $50,000.

There were two tracks. Track A promised $50K. Track B did not have a specified sum of money, but required more evidence. Debt relief was promised in both tracks. But then the attorneys for the class allowed "similarly situated white farmer," the death-knell for black farmers, to be admitted into the system. The farmers assumed that discovery would bring forth white farmers with whom to compare their findings of discrimination. The largely white attorneys waived discovery, an unforgiveable sin in the court system.

From 22,721 total eligible claimants, only 16,281 prevailed, and only 371 got debt relief.

There are some significant dates:

1) March 3, 2021, Senator Warnock succeeds in getting his "Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act" passed.

2) March 11, 2021, President Biden signs into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Within this package is section 1005, which allowed $4 billion to be granted to farmers of color for debt relief of their direct loans. It also included section 1006 to the tune of $1.01 billion for outreach, training, education, technical assistance, grants and loans, and other things related to minority farmers, or Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, a 2501 designation. The debt relief pack was shaped by Senator Warnock's legislation.

3) The Miller v. Vilsack was filed in Texas on April 26, 2021. White farmers as a class are certified and the preliminary injunction signed by the judge. The white farmers claim reverse discrimination despite the fact that white farmers have received nearly all of the subsidies, coronavirus relief funds, and the funds from Trump's failed war with China.

4) Faust et al v. Vilsack was filed on April 29, 2021, and the temporary restraining order granted on June 10, 2021.

5) Winn v. Vilsack was filed on May 25, 2021. Defendants responded on June 4, a hearing was held June 16, and the judge issued the preliminary injunction on June 23, 2021.

All of these cases look and sound alike. At the latest information, there are now 13 such cases across the country.

In an email from an employee high up in the USDA, the secretary was defended against our accusation of "slow-walking" the process. There are also several quotes from Vilsack listed, all affirming that the white farmers' cases are frivolous. Our word, not his, but that the white farmers have been advantaged all along.

So, when I look at March 3, 2021, when Senator Warnock's legislation passed (which ultimately made its way into the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 signed into law on March 11, 2021).

Then, the earliest judge's decision was signed on June 10, 2021, I cannot help but count the number of days. It looks to me like the gap is close to 100 days. Surely the Secretary of Agriculture knew what was going on in the halls of Congress, especially as things were related to the goings on at USDA. Surely.

Secretary Vilsack is giving away taxpayers money left and right out of USDA and DC. The dollars are going to reputable issues: climate change, heirs property, and many others.

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Waymon Hinson holds the Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi and is licensed as a psychologist and marriage and family therapist. His work history includes 26 years with three universities including Abilene Christian University and 8 years with (more...)
 
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