Volume 4, Number 5                                    January 17, 2001

The Farmer

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BFAA endorses Voters’ Bill of Rights  by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

On January 20, 2001 the Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association (BFAA) will send representatives to participate in the Day of Resistance Shadow Inauguration event in DC, which is going to the Supreme Court: The gathering time will be 10:00 A.M. at, Stanton Park, and there will be a rally and ceremony beginning at 11:00 A.M.

The assembly location will be on the 6th St. side of the park, near Imani Temple Church. This is in the NE section, a few blocks from the Supreme Court and from Union Station.

The conveners for the march and rally include Reverend Al Sharpton and Ron Daniels. A press release by The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) headed by Ron Daniels states:

"The Center for Constitutional Rights ...will focus its energies on the nation's capital on January 20th. As an institution devoted to racial justice, we are particularly hopeful that thousands of African Americans and other people of color, as the groups who disproportionately bore the brunt of disenfranchisement in the November election, will mobilize in massive numbers to be present for the Day of Resistance in Washington, DC. Accordingly, as Executive Director of CCR, I will be supporting and participating in the Shadow Inaugural March and Rally at the Supreme Court being organized by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network. The Supreme Court, the scene of what can only be described as an infamous decision, is the right place to be on this Day of Resistance." (complete press release at: http://muhammadfarms.com/News.htm#Ron daniels )

Gary Grant, President of BFAA, states, "For all who have come to these shores, America is the land of freedom, of hope, of opportunity for all, except the African people."

BFAA has led the fight for justice for Black farmers in their struggle against the discriminatory and destructive behavior of the USDA. Mr. Grant released this statement to the press to explain BFAA’s endorsement and support of pro-democracy efforts:

"The independence of Black America has always been based on three primary factors: the right to vote as symbolized by participation in the governmental authority; the right to an equal opportunity to pursue educational aspirations to the highest as symbolized by America's so called ‘historically Black institutions;’ and finally the right to own land as symbolized by Black family farms. Despite our gains in Civil Rights and voting rights, which now are under vicious attack, and our major strides in equal opportunity in education, we have been unable to maintain our right to own land. Land ownership is essential in establishing a sound base of political and economic power which can guarantee Black independence now and in future generations. Black farmers will continue to participate in demonstrations that seek equal Voting power for all until ‘justice is done.’"

The issue of voters’ rights are spelled out in a ten point platform coming out of the second annual Progressive Dialogue conference held in DC in December of 2000. The Voters’ Bill of Rights is an integral part of a Pro-Democracy Campaign that has now been endorsed by over 75 progressive organizations.

The Voters’ Bill of Rights calls for: 1. Strict Enforcement and Extension of the Voting Rights Act, 2. Abolition of the Electoral College, 3. Clean Money Elections, 4. Instant Runoff Voting, 5. Proportional Representation, 6. Voting Rights for Former Prisoners, 7. Make Voting Easier and More Reliable, 8. Easier Access to the Ballot, the Media and Debates for Candidates, 9. Create Independent and Non-Partisan Election Administration Bodies, 10. Statehood for District of Columbia. (Full details can be viewed at: http://ippn.org/BofR.htm )

It seems quite appropriate that Washington, DC should be the scene for these demonstrations and the launching of a renewed spirit of "Pro-Democracy", since its hundreds of thousands of citizens still live under the cloud of "Taxation Without Representation" in the new millennium. White people in this country watched her as she stole a whole people from their native land, ran the indigenous people off their land, fought to deny freedom to her slaves that worked the land, stole back the land after her former slaves bought the land, denied the right to vote to her dark people of the land and just now stole the vote of her citizens across the land. Now it seems that white people may finally be experiencing how it feels to be robbed.

Mr. Grant closed by saying, "Look for the BFAA flags at the Day of Resistance Shadow Inauguration event in DC on January 20th."