HUDSON, N.Y. — In light of recent events in Charlottesville, Lindsey Lusher Shute, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), issued the following statement:
Through the tragic events in Charlottesville two weeks ago, we bore witness to the very worst and very best of our nation: we saw people on our streets marching under banners of hate, who went on to commit murder and other violent acts; and we saw people linking arms and putting themselves in harm’s way to defend equality, love, and respect. While we are sickened by the acts of terrorism, and haunted by vicious chants, at the same time we are emboldened by the words and actions of so many Americans who are willing to stand up against racism.
The violence that rose in Charlottesville is another link in a heavy chain—part of the long history of racism and oppression in this country. It is a heartbreaking reminder that we have not fully reckoned with our complicated history as a nation, and that this continues to have consequences. This history has also profoundly shaped our agriculture and food system, and so is deeply relevant to our work as a coalition.
We understand that condemning what happened in Charlottesville is not enough. This is a call to pay attention. To engage. To be accountable in the ways we’ve committed to, and to seek new ways to work in coalition and solidarity to build a food system—and a country—that uplifts us all.
We are also reminded that our struggles are all connected. Where oppression exists, everyone suffers. Fannie Lou Hamer, farmer and civil rights activist, put it this way: “Nobody’s free until everybody is free.” This is why we must fight for racial equity, justice, dignity, and inclusion—every day, together.
The original statement, which was sent as a letter to NYFC’s members and supporters, can be viewed online here.
The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) is an advocacy network of farmers fighting for the future of agriculture. Visit NYFC on the web at www.youngfarmers.org, and on Twitter,Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
—National Young Farmers Coalition
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