MULTICULTURAL LAND ACQUISITION & RETENTION PROJECT
CHALLENGE TO CHURCHES
Across the country, Indian nations are struggling to retain possession and control of land that is the basis of their culture, economy and way of life. African-American people are losing land at such a fast rate that more than 70% of African-American owned farmland was lost between 1954 and 2002. Latinos have been displaced and often have unclear title to their holdings. Appalachians and others have historically been defrauded of enormous profits from resources removed from property under land they own. Farmworkers own none of the land they work so hard and productively. Low and moderate income people are blocked from acquiring land for housing.
The RDLN Multicultural Land Acquisition and Retention Project provides a forum for groups struggling separately on land issues to join in pushing for just land ownership practices and policies in the U.S.
We challenge churches to take leadership in this domestic land reform project, to agree as denominations to urge their member churches to take action in the following ways:
to buy 100 acres of land and make them available for community development purposes, and/or
to make available an equal amount of property from investment holdings
to community groups for farming, housing,economic development, and
other use and/or
to transfer surplus property to community groups, and/or
to support land banks, loan funds, and technical assistance efforts.
We urge churches to acknowledge their own roles in depriving people of land as well as giving positive examples of the transfer of church property. We encourage govern- ment and other institutions to do the same.
Our challenge was first announced in Little Rock on October 29, 1993 with a ceremony on the banks of the Arkansas River, a passageway on the Cherokee Trail of Tears, in a state which has no Indian land, one state away from the Mexican border, in a state with a high refugee population. The event was co-hosted by the Arkansas Farm and Land Development Corporation and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, with comments by Billie Jean Young, then RDLNÕs Chairwoman, Calvin King (Executive Director, Arkansas Land and Farm Development), Dave Risling (Chair, DQ University; Vice President, Native American Rights Fund), Shirley Sherrod (Georgia State Director, ern Cooperatives), Baldemar Velasquez (Executive Director, Farm Labor Organizing Committee)
Statement on Land
People's Book of Land