WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week announced the appointment of new members of the USDA/1890 Task Force, which seeks to strengthen the partnership between USDA and the 1890 land-grant universities.

“USDA’s partnership with the 1890 Council of Presidents is key to shaping the next generation of leaders in agriculture and ensuring access to USDA programs in underserved communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “USDA is eager to continue working with the leadership of 1890 institutions, to create pathways to agricultural careers in the federal government and beyond.”

USDA has a long history of investing in and support Black universities, especially the land-grant universities that were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. The USDA/1890 Task Force serves as an advisory body for partnership initiatives and ensures the realization of mutual benefits and interests.

USDA/1890 Task Force

USDA members:

  • Terry Cosby, Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) (Co-Chair)
  • Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
  • Daniel Whitley, Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
  • Monica Rainge, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
  • Dionne Toombs, Director (Acting), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
  • Hubert Hamer, Administrator, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)

1890 Land-Grant University presidents:

  • Dr. Paul Jones, President, Fort Valley State University (Co-Chair)
  • Dr. Felicia Nave, President, Alcorn State University
  • Dr. Kent J. Smith, President, Langston University,
  • Dr. Makola Abdullah, President, Virginia State University
  • Dr. Larry Robinson, President, Florida A&M University
  • Dr. Jack Thomas , President, Central State University


The 1890 land-grant system consists of the following 19 universities: Alabama A&M, Alcorn State University, Central State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Langston University, Lincoln University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University and A&M College, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University and West Virginia State University.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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Five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) presidents has been appointed to the USDA-1890 Task Force. The task force explores cooperative frameworks, partnership opportunities and priority areas.

The appointed president’s includes Tuskegee University President Lily D. McNair, Southern University and A&M College President Ray Belton, Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II, Alcorn State University President Felecia M. Nave, and Langston University President Kent Smith on the task force.

The task force was reestablished along with the USDA-1994 Leadership Group and USDA Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Leadership Group to serve as principal working groups for the USDA secretary to explore mutually beneficial, short and long-term goals.

The USDA/1890 Task Force is a component of the USDA’s 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities National Program. The task force is a joint council of USDA and 1890 Land-Grant University senior officials (e.g, under secretaries, agency administrators, and university presidents) that provides leadership to advance the mutual interests of USDA and the 1890 Land-Grant Universities. The 1890 Land-Grant Universities – which include 18 Land-Grant Universities established under the second Morrill Act of 1890 – are invaluable sources of diverse professionals who work in agriculture and related disciplines.

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Huston-Tillotson University President and CEO Colette Pierce Burnette speaks on Wednesday at City Hall in Austin, Texas. Photo Credit: Thomas Negrete | Daily Texan Staff

AUSTIN, TX – Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced a task force group on Wednesday that will explore ways the city can combat institutional racism within criminal justice, health, education, finance and housing. The group will be made up of 49 members to take a comprehensive look at institutional racism and make recommendations by March.

The take force will focus on structural barriers – not individuals – both intentional and unintentional, Alder said. It will be disbanded after presenting an action plan to the community in March. Huston-Tillotson University President and CEO Colette Pierce Burnette and Austin Independent School District superintendent Paul Cruz are to lead the task force as co-chairs. The steering committee will also include representatives from the Austin Police Department and the NAACP

Alder said the land plan instituted in 1928 is an example of how city planning and institutions have supported institutional racism.

“We are responsible for remediating the enduring legacy of inequities that continue to flow from what was a pretty horrific plan,” said Alder. “That lives with us today as we are the most geographically segregated city in the country. We cannot add our power to past prejudice even if we are well-intentioned.”

Dr. Burnette said the plan’s ability to create actual change will depend on people being willing to put in work.

“This happens from individuals having the will to do the heavy lifting and hard work,” said Dr. Burnette. “Everyone in that room has the will. The timing is perfect in the nation. Whatever the catalysts are, the timing is perfect in the nation to move forward.”

Cruz states his school district is already implementing programs to examine the differentiation for students of color when it comes to issues like dropout rates, college graduation rates and suspensions. Cruz said reflecting on issues for people of color in the city helps AISD students even after they leave their public education.

Dr. Burnette was named the sixth President and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University in April 2015. She became the first female president of the merged Huston-Tillotson University and only the second female president in the institution’s 140-year history.

Before coming to Huston-Tillotson, Burnette served as Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial officer and also Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Central State University, a historically black university in Wilberforce, Ohio.

 

 

Source: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local/mayor-steve-adler-names-49-people-to-austins-anti-/ns849/.