Black farmers to get $5 billion in reparations  – Independent presidential candidate RFK Jr. pledges

Stephen Nartey May 21, 2024
Robert F. Kennedy Jr/Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has said he will support giving $5 billion in reparations to Black farmers if elected. This proposal aligns with a provision in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which was previously ruled unconstitutional by a court.

“When I’m in the White House… I’m going to get rid of those people in USDA and get that money,” Kennedy told John Boyd Jr., the founder of the National Black Farmers Association, in a recent episode of his podcast, the Post reported.

“That $5 billion is not money, that is an entitlement,” the 70-year-old added. “It’s money that was a loan that black farmers were entitled to way back when and was stolen from them through discrimination.”

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, introduced by President Biden, included a $5 billion loan assistance program for “socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers” affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Post. This provision faced legal challenges from white farmers in Texas, the Midwest, and Florida.

A federal judge in Jacksonville, Marcia Morales Howard, issued a preliminary injunction, halting the program and labeling it as an “inflexible, race-based discriminatory program.”

America First Legal (AFL), one of the parties involved in the lawsuit, responded to Kennedy Jr.’s endorsement of the $5 billion package.

“Any public official who thinks it is the government’s role to pick winners and losers based on the color of their skin does not belong in public office,” AFL Executive Director and general counsel Gene Hamilton told The Post. “This is the 21st century, and we need to stop living like we are in the 19th century before the Civil War.”

Black farmers, such as Boyd, argue that they have suffered historical discrimination that warrants redress, despite their small representation at 1.4% of the farming population. Kennedy Jr.’s support for the $5 billion program aligns with his broader campaign promises on reparations.

His campaign website currently reads he will “end USDA discrimination against Black [sic] farmers, and protect current landowners from further land loss” and will move to “cancel student debt” and give out “low-interest microloans to invest in approved business plans with flexible repayment terms.”

Kennedy Jr. revised his views on reparations during his campaign, updating his website after an October report by The Post highlighted his initial promise to use federal funds to “rebuild black infrastructure.”

“During Jim Crow, Black [sic] banks, businesses, hospitals, schools, and farms were targeted for destruction. Racists knew that without these, the Black [sic] community had no chance of building wealth. We must set federal dollars aside to rebuild Black [sic] infrastructure,” his campaign website initially read.

Days later, Kennedy Jr.’s campaign made changes to his website to expand his policies to “devastated communities across the country.”

“Targeted Community Repair will be available to devastated communities across the country,” the new statement read, “not just Black [sic].”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 21, 2024


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates