Memphis, Tennessee, July 28, 2015, members and supporters of the Black Farmers And Agriculturalists Association, Inc. (BFAA, Inc.) will conduct a rally and protest in front of the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse located at 333 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. at 10:00 A.M. on Monday, September 21, 2015.
The purpose of the protest is to bring attention to, and seek Congressional support (Hearings — Judiciary Committees on the Constitution) regarding the fact that certain Federal Judges (Paul L. Friedman, Emmett Sullivan and Reggie B. Walton) have failed to uphold the United States Constitution as it pertains to the civil rights of African American male farmers and ranchers in the several class action lawsuits against USDA. These judges have and are continuing to allow race, gender and sex (male) discrimination to be further visited upon Black farmers by private contractors (attorneys, claims administrators, arbitrators, adjudicators, monitors and/or ombudsmen (neutrals)) as a result of a final and official agency action by defendant, USDA.
BFAA, Inc. has filed, by and through its legal representatives, a Class Action lawsuit (Estate of Earnest Lee Boyland et al v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE et al, Case Number: 1:15-cv-01112) seeking a 1.8 Billion Dollar settlement against defendants, USDA and Epiq Systems — by a jury trial.
Black male claimants are being constructively excluded from the right and opportunity to participate in the Claims Process (Hispanic and Female Farmers and Ranchers) by defendant, Epiq Systems (a class action claims administration company in Beaverton, Oregon). These acts by Epiq Systems are a flagrant violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI., as amended. Epiq Systems is receiving public (tax payer) funds from its prime contractor, USDA, to administer claims in the Hispanic and Female lawsuit and has denied “all” Black male claimants because of their race and gender as follows:
Dear Estate of Earnest L. Boyland,
Thank you for your interest in the Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Resolution Process. To participate in this Process, you must be either Hispanic/Latino or female. On your Claim Form, you indicated that you are an African American male. As such, you are not eligible to participate in this Claims Process, and your claim has been DENIED.
“The legislation that congress passed on October 28, 1998 (Waiver of the Statute of Limitations) and in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act (Farm Bill) of 2008, providing relief for “all” socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers has been vetoed, truncated and outright taken from African American claimants by Judge Friedman and in turn, given to Native Americans, Hispanics and Women farmers and ranchers by Judges Sullivan and Walton,” states Thomas Burrell, BFAA, Inc. President.
In 2004 and 2005, congress held hearings that led to the over-riding of a decision that Judge Friedman made by allowing Attorney Michael K. Lewis (Arbitrator) to deny thousands of African American claimants from being a party in the first black farmers settlement (Pigford I Consent Decree at Paragraph 5(g)). Those denied black claimants were subjected to a provision in the Consent Decree — certified by Judge Friedman — that designated them as, “Late Filers.” No such provisions were ever included in the Native American, Hispanic and/or Female Settlement Agreements.
“The Federal Judges who were otherwise appointed to be the guardians of the constitution have allowed the claims administrators, attorneys, adjudicators and arbitrators to violate, in broad daylight, the civil rights of African American claimants in these lawsuits with total and complete impunity. Congress will have to step forward once again and save African American male farmers and ranchers from the misconduct of these judges,” Burrell concludes.