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Heather Gray's Interviews on WRFG-Atlanta's Just Peace
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Black Farmers Lawsuit Against the USDA
April 02, 2013 06:34 AM PDT
On April 1, 2013 we on WRFG's Just Peace interviewed two of the class counsels in the lawsuit Black farmers filed against the USDA in 1997 - Hank Sanders and Phil Fraas. We wanted to hear why this lawsuit was filed, as in what the USDA had done to prompt this lawsuit and what to them was significant about it.
Known initially as the Pigford v Glickman lawsuit, its first and second phase, is to date, the largest civil rights discrimination lawsuit ever filed against the U.S. government. The abuses and blatant discrimination by USDA staff, particularly in the South, have been documented for the entire have of the last century.
Ever since Roosevelt's Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace initiated the Farm Programs to assist farmers who were suffering from the depression discrimination against Black farmer citizens has been the stuff of legend. In fact, when Wallace was attempting to get his legislation through Congress in the 1930's large white plantation owners insisted that the money come to them rather than to their Black tenant and sharecroppers and they would then distribute the money. They didn't. Black farmers suffered as a result from then until now by losing land and not being provided the opportunity to pursue their independent farming dreams and skills.
The tradition has been maintained throughout the USDA offices. It could be called "white" male entitlement to government agriculture money and it has been rampant and totally unjust.
A couple of years ago in a press conference, in his comments of the Pigford lawsuit and the accusations of fraud, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said that out of the thousands of claims and the review of them, they have found that only 10 were questionable and out of those only 2 likely had merit.
In the interview, Sanders and Fraas mentioned the claims process. Before any farmer prevails in his or her claim of discrimination the process of vetting the claim is arduous and lengthy. The claims extend from farmers filling out their claims to, administrative review, to then the review of the claims by the "neutrals" (retired judges and attorneys), etc. The system has been set up to remove from the process fraudulent claims and Sanders in particular mentions this.
In fact at the end of the interview Sanders said, "There are a lot of folks who resent this so much and they are attacking it and making allegations of fraud and all of that and that’s just again an issue of “race” to a great degree…. They’re saying that these people were not farmers, -that they were not attempting to farm - that this was just another program for the government to try to help folks who shouldn’t be helped and that there’s a lot of fraud going on.
That is just not the case. The system was set up where people were vetted very thoroughly to make sure you weed out anybody who didn’t have a meritorious claim. So we run into these charges all the time and they have more to do with “race and politics” than they have to do with justice."Rashid Nuri on Monsanto and Coca Cola
March 28, 2013 09:33 PM PDT
On March 25, 2013, we on Just Peace (WRFG-Atlanta 89.3FM) interviewed urban farmer Rashid Nuri on the recent Congressional passage of what is referred to as the Monsanto Protection Act and about the NAACP opposition to New York Mayor Blumberg's efforts to curb the sale of huge bottles of soft drink. Listen to this interesting dailogue.
Heather Gray, producer
February 18, 2013 09:06 PM PST
On February 18, 2013 Heather Gray interviewed Rashid Nuri of the Atlanta based "Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture". The focus was about George Washington Carver and his extraordinary contributions to agriculture throughout the world and to the Black community in particular. The interview took place on Just Peace on WRFG-Atlanta's 89.3FM.
A podcast of Fay Bellamy Powell and her Work for Justice
February 13, 2013 04:05 AM PST
On Monday, February 11, 2013 Heather Gray of WRFG-Atlanta 89.3FM interviewed friends and colleagues about Fay Bellamy Powell. Interviewed were Atlanta's Imam Nadim Ali, Abdul Mannan - of WRFG Radio, Bomani Bakari - former WRFG radio producer, Wendell Paris - SNCC activist and rural organizer in the South, Leah Wise - SNCC activist and southern organizer.
In January 2013 Fay Bellamy Powell died and has left a sizable and renowned legacy of work for justice since the 1960's. The Memorial Service for Fay will be on February 22 at the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta from 6:00 to 8:30PM. The address is Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture,101 Auburn Ave, NE, Atlanta, GA 30303, tel: (404)730-4001.
Fay played a central role at WRFG from the very beginning. She served on the WRFG Board of Directors in the 1970's and, in 1977, became the first Black and first woman to serve as board chair. She was also on the station's Program Committee in the 1970's and set the tone for the station's progressive stance on issues of and advocacy for justice overall.
Fay's excellent show on WRFG was "Inside-Out" which focused on prison issues. She appealed to inmates at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary where she had a significant following for years. Her famous mantra was, in her appeal to the inmates, "Get your pencils out. I'm going to give you some information." Jazz was also featured on her show.
Fay came to WRFG after her remarkable activism in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Selma, Alabama where she "worked with Project Directors John Love, and later Silas Norman. She was there during the Selma-Montgomery march. Later, she went to work in Green County, Alabama with Cynthia Washington, and finally worked in communications in the SNCC office in 1966. She was an assistant to James Forman, and to Stokely Carmichael. She founded the SNCC newsletter 'The Africanamerican', and was part of a SNCC delegation that traveled through the USSR in 1966" (SNCC Legacy Project). She was also renowned, in the 1960's, for bringing in Malcolm X to speak to the Selma activists and is referred to by Malcolm X in Alex Haley's "The Autobiography of Malcolm X".
WRFG Presents PART TWO of Program on Venezuela
February 09, 2013 12:32 PM PST
WRFG-Atlanta 89.3FM Presents PART TWO of the Special Program on Venezuela
The hosts for the program were Heather Gray, Sobukwe Shukura and Dianne Mathiowetz.
WRFG Presents PART ONE of Special Program on Venezuela
February 06, 2013 04:55 AM PST
WRFG Presents PART ONE of the Special Program on Venezuela
On February 4, 2013 WRFG 89.3FM aired a special two hour program on Venezuela and the significance of the Bolivarian Revolution.
Guests on the program included:
Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General and international human rights activist;
Kali Akuno, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and
Jorge Marin, Venezuelan activist and leader of Boston Bolivarian Circle
January 28, 2013 08:53 PM PST
On January 28, 2013 co-producers Heather Gray and Nadia Ali interviewed Rashid Nuri of the Atlanta based "Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture". In addition to hearing an update on urban agriculture activities in Atlanta, Rashid discussed the important role of Marcus Garvey in the early 1900's to advance opportunities for the Black community throughout the world. Reference was made to scholar Tony Martin's book "Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association". The interview took place on Just Peace on WRFG-Atlanta's 89.3FM.
Shirley Sherrod and Justice In America
January 14, 2013 07:53 PM PST
On January 14, 2013 Heather Gray interviewed Shirley Sherrod who made national news in 2010 when she was fired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture over an egregious duplicity by right-wing agitator Andrew Breitbart who distorted a video of Sherrod making it look as if she was a racist when quite a reverse was true. Ultimately the USDA Secretary apologized and offered Sherrod another job at USDA that she refused.
In the meantime Shirley Sherrod has continued her work in Georgia to assist family farmers and engage in racial healing.
The interview on WRFG's Just Peace also featured Sherrod's recent book entitled "The Courage to Hope: How I stood Up to the Politics of Fear."interview with Rashid Nuri - November 2012
December 21, 2012 07:27 AM PST
An interview with Rashid Nuri of the Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture by Heather Gray, producer of "Just Peace" on WRFG-Atlanta 89.3PM. The interview took place on November 26, 2012.
Rashid discusses the importance of the seasonality of production, how to start a garden, about the impact and challenges of GMO seeds and many other topics.
The interviews with Rashid take place once a month on Just Peace.
Interviews on Urban Agriculture with urban farmer Rashid Nuri on WRFG-Atlanta 89.3 FM www.wrfg.org by Heather Gray on the program "Just Peace"
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