Secretary Vilsack spoke in New York on Tuesday at the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Vilsack solicited the help of all attendees in tackling childhood hunger and obesity, two issues on which President Obama has specifically asked for his help. He outlined how USDA nutrition programs – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, school breakfast and school lunch – are playing a vital role every day in ensuring all people in every city have access to nutritious food.
The Secretary also pledged to work hard on repairing the tarnished civil rights image at USDA.
“Black farmers have waited far too long for their piece of justice,” said Vilsack. He outlined for the packed meeting some first steps in addressing civil rights issues at USDA:
- Vilsack has temporarily suspended all foreclosures within the Farm Service Agency’s farm loan programs, helping farmers and ranchers facing economic hardship and providing an opportunity to review the agency’s loan process for possible discriminatory practices.
- USDA has created a task force to review more than 17,000 civil rights complaints.
- Vilsack also granted greater authority to the USDA Office of Civil Rights, to be sure all civil rights complaints are organized in a single data system and that they are addressed quickly and in a consistent manner.