Los Angeles, CA (Obama.net) – Over ten years ago, the United States Agriculture Department came to a settlement agreement with minority farmers in America. Pigford v. Glickman was settled in 1999. Under the agreement, farmers who were the subject of racial discrimination would be entitled to $50,000 a piece.
Friday, the Senate unanimously agreed to provide $1.15 billion to the settlement and to pay the farmers who are ruled to be entitled.
John Boyd, the National Black Farmers Association president, said of the decision, “This is much long overdue justice for black farmers.”
Obama was pleased with the decision. The President of the United States said that he hoped the House of Representatives passes the same measure sooner rather than later in order for him to sign and pass the bill.
Obama went on to say that “while these legislative achievements reflect important progress, they also serve to remind us that much work remains to be done,” as other lawsuits by women and Hispanic workers against the Agriculture Department continue to go unattended.
Tom Vilsack of the Department of Agriculture said the agreement is “a major milestone in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s efforts to turn the page on a sad chapter.”
Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, said he was proud of the decision and that Americans who truly deserved justice finally got it. He also touted the passing of the decision by the Senate as an example of the good that comes when Republicans and Democrats put differences aside and do what’s right.
Friday, the Senate also gave $3.4 billion to fund another financial settlement. Native Americans tribes were awards the money after their lawsuits with the Department of Interior were inappropriately taken care of.
Both Republicans and Democrats are in favor of funding both measures that would distribute over $4.5 billion to minority workers.
Both measures are expected to be passed by the House of Representatives, which is still representative of the elected officials of the 2008 election.
The decisions by the Senate have two significant meanings. The first is that minorities in America are getting justice for wrongdoings done against them and thus taking a step towards greater racial equality. And secondly, this shows that when they want to, Republicans and Democrats can in fact come together and work constructively on important issues to do what is best for the American people and not for their party in the next election.