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RFK Jr. Pledges $5 Billion in Reparations to Black Farmers If Elected

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RFK Jr. Pledges $5 Billion in Reparations to Black Farmers If Elected
Source: Pinterest

RFK Jr. Pledges $5 Billion in Reparations to Black Farmers If Elected

Source: Pinterest

Robert Francis Kennedy Jr., popularly known as RFK Jr., made a pledge to black farmers in the country.

In a recent podcast, the independent presidential election candidate promised to give $5 billion to Black farmers if he wins the presidential elections in November. 

RFK Jr.’s Campaign 

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Robert Francis Kennedy Jr., or RFK, as many know him, is the presidential candidate for the Independent Party in the 2024 November elections. He is also part of the famous political Kennedy family.

His uncles are former U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. His father is the highly respected U.S. attorney general and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

RFK JR.’s Support

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The Independent presidential candidate has a podcast in which he sits with John Boyd Jr., the founder of the National Black Farmers Association.

In the podcast, RFK voiced strong support for the group, hoping to rectify the flaws in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) policies. Boyd Jr. is also known for challenging the Biden Administration’s method of handling debt relief for minority farmers, particularly Black people. 

Legal Battle

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The aggrieved parties also took their problems to the courts, hoping to get justice. However, the minority farmers were not successful in court.

This was a result of white farmers complaining that the program for the Black people was an infringement on their constitutional rights. Therefore, RFK Jr. hoped to overturn the program’s policies if he was elected into office. 

The Promised Fee

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RFK Jr. continued to support the farmers on his podcast, saying he promised $5 billion. He said the whopping sum was not money but an entitlement owed to the Black farmers over time.

He also noted that the funds were supposed to be disbursed as loans but wrongfully withheld by the government due to several discriminatory practices and laws. 

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High Criticism for Program

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The USDA’s aid program underwent significant changes after the initial proposal, thanks to high criticism, political pressure, and opposition.

Therefore, they implemented the modifications into The Inflation Reduction Act. This restructured the way financial support was distributed among a broader demographic into two separate funds, hoping to ensure that each demographic was equally represented moving forward. 

White Farmers Take A Stance

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After the restructuring happened, a group of white farmers from nine different states took legal action against the USDA. The group argued that the new program’s restructured plans were discriminatory against white farmers.

They also noted that it was a violation of their constitutional rights. This led to a significant legal standoff in the courts and disagreements among the farmers. 

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Legal Cases Caused Setbacks

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The legal standoff led to a huge setback when the temporary restraining order against the program.

The presiding judge, William Griesbach, issued the order and justified it by claiming that the program did not adequately justify its focus on minority farmers in a way that would not impose more hardships on other people. He also noted that the reconstructed program was solving a discriminatory issue by creating another. 

The Restructured Plan

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Despite the legal challenges and hurdles, the restructured plan allocated $2 billion to continue addressing discrimination among farmers.

It also allocated an extra $3 billion to assist all farmers facing various financial difficulties. This was to give a broader approach to financial aid regardless of their race and ethnicity.

The Constant Fight for Justice

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Boyd continued on the podcast, stating that the fight for the farmers was about the lands that they had lost a lot of.

He also noted that there was a deep historical connection to the struggle that the Black farmers were facing. Therefore, there is also an emotional layer of struggle that has been faced by Black farmers for different generations over time. 

ALSO READ: US Launches First Large Offshore Wind Farm

USDA's Pushes Back on Plan

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The USDA initially supported their original plan. However, the agency changed its plan due to the legal battle of the white farmers. The USDA pushed back on adapting the strategy and postponed it until further notice.

A spokesperson for the agency, Marissa Perry, also emphasized the urgency of implementing their new restructured plans to ensure that things are no longer delayed. 

Years of Inequality

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Black farmers have faced hundreds of years of barriers to agricultural success based on their racial backgrounds.

They have faced limits to access to the required financial support and resources that they need as farmers. Therefore, there have been several efforts to address these issues between 1999 and 2010, but nothing has solved this problem permanently. 

Black Farmers Have Reduced

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Due to the constant discriminatory practices in agriculture, the number of Black farmers has reduced greatly over time. There were about a million black farmers a century ago but now, there are only about 45,000 farmers who are still practicing farmers.

Therefore, this is a problem that needs urgent, adequate intervention to prevent it from becoming even worse than it already is. 

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