10-19-2021  2:24 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Set to Expand Hotline for Bias Crime Reporting

With a rise in hate crimes and bias incidents in Oregon and nationwide the two-person office just couldn’t handle the volume.

Portland Shootings Prompt DA to Spend $1M to Handle Cases

Multnomah County plans to hire four prosecutors and two investigators to help with an increasing caseload of homicide investigations

Cascadia Whole Health Honors Community Justice Leader, Fine Artist with Culture of Caring Awards

Erika Preuitt and Jeremy Okai Davis recognized for positive contributions to community.

Salem-Keizer School Boards Adopts Anti-Racism Resolution

The Salem-Keizer school board has voted to adopt a resolution outlining the board’s commitment to equity and anti-racism.

NEWS BRIEFS

Sen. Kayse Jama Announces Re-Election Campaign for Senate District 24

Since his appointment, Jama has worked to address the systemic inequality that Oregonians have faced ...

Dion Matthews Jr. Homicide Remains Unsolved After Six Years

The 2015 homicide is a Crime Stoppers featured case ...

Joint Center Commends Senator Whitehouse for Hiring Monalisa Dugué as Chief of Staff

Dugué is one of two Black Chiefs of Staff in the Senate ...

FBI Offers up to $25,000 for Information in Mass Shooting Event

18-year-old Makayla Maree Harris killed and six others injured in a Portland shooting on July 17, 2021 ...

Nearly 100 Animals Seized From Woofin Palooza Forfeited to MCAS

A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge has ruled that dogs and cats seized from an unlicensed facility named Woofin Palooza are now...

'A dangerous time': Portland, Oregon, sees record homicides

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — It was nearly last call on a Friday when Jacob Eli Knight Vasquez went to get a drink across the street from the tavern where he worked in northwest Portland — an area with a thriving dining scene, where citygoers enjoy laid-back eateries, international cuisines and cozy...

Federal judge rejects bid to block Oregon vaccine mandate

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge on Monday denied a last-minute bid by more than three dozen state employees, health care providers and school staff to temporarily stop the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate. U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon rejected their motion...

No. 21 Texas A&M runs over Missouri, 35-14

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher warned his team all week that it couldn’t afford a letdown after its upset of top-ranked Alabama. His message got through, as the 21st-ranked Aggies buried Missouri early in a 35-14 victory Saturday. “We preached it,...

No. 21 Texas A&M heads to Mizzou after 'Bama upset win

No. 21 Texas A&M (4-2, 1-2 SEC) at Missouri (3-3, 0-2), Saturday at noon EDT (SEC Network). Line: Texas A&M by 9 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Series record: Texas A&M leads 8-7. WHAT’S AT STAKE? ...

OPINION

How Food Became the Perfect Beachhead for Gentrification

What could be the downside of fresh veggies, homemade empanadas and a pop-up restaurant specializing in banh mis? ...

Homelessness, Houselessness in the Richest Country in the World: An Uncommon Logic

When and why did the United States of America chose the wealth of a few over the health, wealth, and well-being of so many ...

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Lapchick family felt backlash due to Knicks coach's views

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Richard E. Lapchick shares some of the backlash his family felt that was directed at his father, former Knicks coach Joe Lapchick, for signing the first Black player to an NBA contract in 1950. The experience led him to his work today; Richard directs the Institute for Diversity and...

Texas lawmakers pass new congressional maps bolstering GOP

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Republicans approved redrawn U.S. House maps that favor incumbents and decrease political representation for growing minority communities, even as Latinos drive much of the growth in the nation’s largest red state. The maps were approved late...

Texas lawmakers pass new congressional maps bolstering GOP

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Republicans approved on Monday redrawn U.S. House maps that favor incumbents and decrease political representation for growing minority communities, even as Latinos drive much of the growth in the nation’s largest red state. The maps were approved...

ENTERTAINMENT

Betty Lynn, Thelma Lou on 'The Andy Griffith Show,' has died

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. (AP) — Betty Lynn, the film and television actor who was best known for her role as Barney Fife's sweetheart Thelma Lou on “The Andy Griffith Show,” has died. She was 95. Lynn died peacefully Saturday after a brief illness, The Andy Griffith Museum in...

Kourtney Kardashian, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker engaged

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A day at the beach turned into a proposal for Kourtney Kardashian, who is now engaged to Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. Kardashian posted two photos on Instagram of the proposal with the caption “forever.” A representative for the reality star and...

Review: Elizabeth Strout writes a 'Lucy Barton' sequel

“Oh William!” by Elizabeth Strout (Random House) Elizabeth Strout has written another voice-driven novel, the third in a series of books about the fictional writer Lucy Barton and the people she grew up with in a small town in rural Illinois. “Oh...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

EXPLAINER: Why some fear a 'Polexit' from European Union

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland will be a focus of European attention this week, with Prime Minister Mateusz...

District attorneys refuse to prosecute some GOP-led laws

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — When Republican lawmakers in Tennessee blocked a policy to ease up on low-level...

Alex Murdaugh asks to leave jail after 5 days behind bars

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Lawyers for prominent South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh plan to ask a judge on Tuesday...

Protest strike shuts down Haiti amid search for missionaries

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A protest strike shuttered businesses, schools and public transportation in a new...

Israeli scuba diver discovers ancient Crusader sword

JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli scuba diver has salvaged an ancient sword off the country's Mediterranean coast that...

Aging UK soldier dies while on trial for Troubles shooting

LONDON (AP) — An 80-year-old British army veteran has died while on trial for a shooting that occurred during...

Freddie Allen NNPA Washington Correspondent

Black FarmersWASHINGTON (NNPA) – For decades, Black farmers fought the United States Department of Agriculture over racial discrimination. The farmers, mostly in the south, lost crops, their farms and their homes. Some farmers grew old and died waiting for the slow hands of justice to turn in their favor, but those that still toil in the fields can proclaim victory, the government has finally started cutting checks in the $1.2 billion settlement case known as "Pigford II."

Tim Pigford, a corn and soybean farmer from southeastern North Carolina, said that USDA officials denied his loan application because he was Black. He even testified before Congress in 1984. By 1998, what became known as the Pigford's case evolved into a class action racial discrimination lawsuit that included Black farmers who were denied loans and other federal aid from the government from 1981 to 1996. The government settled the case in 1999.

Pigford, eventually backed out of the landmark case that bears his name and was awarded a separated individual payout.

"Pigford II" included Black farmers who missed the filing deadline, but also suffered hardships in receiving aid from the USDA. The farmers, roughly 18,000 of them, will each receive $50,000 plus an additional $12,500 for debt associated with federal taxes.

The judgment is the largest civil rights settlement in United States history.

Even as some advocates for Black farmers declared victory in the case, most agree that the settlement payments won't go far enough to make up for the wholesale devastation of rural Black communities and the loss of land ownership at the hands of government officials.

"For many Black farmers, the settlement is not going to buy them a new farm with new equipment and put them back into business. That's not what it's going to do," said John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association.

Boyd said, for an elderly Black farmer over 65 years old, the settlement would make the coming years a little more comfortable, pay some bills or help grandkids with college tuition.

Boyd, who has advocated for Black farmers for nearly 30 years, added: "The settlement was never designed to make us completely whole. I don't know if you can put a dollar figure on that."

Still, Boyd said the settlement was a big victory for Black farmers and a big victory for Black people.

Boyd said at times he wanted to give up and that he heard "no" so many times he began to think of "nos" as "maybes."

When Boyd wanted to give up, he remembered the pain and suffering carved into the faces of Black farmers that he met and tried to over the years. Many of them had worse stories than his own encounter with a county supervisor that they said spit on him after denying him a loan.

"That's what kept me going it was the faces, it was the stories, it was the pain and suffering it was all the land that was lost," said Boyd.

According to the USDA, Black farm ownership peaked in 1920 at 925,710. By 1982, the number of Black-owned farms had plummeted to 33,250. A 1998 USDA report found that, "The decline of the African American farmer has taken place at a rate that is three times that of white farmers."

Since 1920, nearly 12 million acres has slipped from the hands of Black farmers.

The United States Commission on Civil Rights found that the Farmers Home Admistration, "may have hindered the efforts of black small farm operators to remain a viable force in agriculture" and that the USDA and FHA failed to "provide equal opportunities in farm credit programs."

Critics have charged that the Pigford settlement and claim process is rife with fraud, and that some who alleged discrimination never attempted to farm or receive loan assistance from the USDA. But Boyd said that those allegations are an insult to Black farmers.

"We made the South what it is, we made this country what it is. We made cotton king," said Boyd. "…If that Black farmer or Black land owner felt that they were discriminated against by the government, they deserved a right to go through that process. I didn't say everybody deserved a check. I never said that."

Gary Grant, head of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, said that from 1981-1996. Black farmers in North Carolina lost nearly 300,000 acres totaling $1.2 billion in lost assets in North Carolina alone.

"Fifty thousand dollars to a farmer is not a lot of money," said Grant.

Farmers didn't get their land back, they didn't get their equipment back they didn't get their homes back, and Grant said, that tax-burdens often put Black farmers in worst shape than they were in before the settlement.

In a press statement on the Pigford II settlement payments, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said: "The Pigford I and II class action lawsuits attempted to address a history of discrimination by the Department of Agriculture.  Between 1983 and 1997, thousands of African American famers were denied loans solely because of their race. These discriminatory practices resulted in severe economic consequences for farmers, often preventing them from maintaining and keeping their farms."

Fudge continued: "Nearly 14 years after the first Pigford case was filed, I am pleased this chapter of discrimination in the history of the Department of Agriculture is closed and bureaucracy will no longer keep these farmers from receiving their due justice."

Some argue, however that the chapter is still open and Black farmers face extinction if they don't continue to fight.

Even as the settlement checks go out, the future of Black farming looks grim. Black farmers are counting on a youth infusion to revitalize industry.

"Nothing has changed at the USDA, despite the settlement," said Grant, who still doesn't trust the USDA. "We can't leave it alone."

Grant added: "This country has destroyed a way of life (family farming and that doesn't matter if you're Black or White) and devastated Black communities by the destruction of the agricultural plain, which was the economic engine in rural society."

Grant acknowledged that sharecropping memories still haunt southern Blacks, because it was such a painful part of our history. But he maintains that Black farmers sent their children off to college and forgot to teach them about the power of land ownership. That was a mistake.

Boyd said that the Black community needs to improve awareness of the value of land ownership.

"A landless culture is a powerless culture. If you don't have any land you don't have any power in this country," said Boyd.

Boyd added: "If you can buy a new Cadillac or a new Mercedes Benz you can also afford five acres in the country. Whatever you need to do in this [nation], if you have land, you can get it done."

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