For African-American farmers -- afflicted by the legacy of slavery, racism, and land theft -- the struggle for emancipation has not been easy. I was therefore excited to learn about Jubilee Justice, a fledgling project that is trying to reclaim farmland for BIPOC farmers and secure their economic livelihoods. Besides embracing cooperatives and community land trusts, Jubilee Justice is dedicated to an open-source, climate-friendly type of rice farming and to courageous "transformational learning journeys" for racial healing.
You can learn more about these experiments in commoning in my interview with Konda Mason on the latest episode of my podcast Frontiers of Commoning (Episode #30).
Mason, cofounder and president of the Louisiana-based Jubilee Justice, is a long-time activist, social entrepreneur, and mindfulness teacher. Raised on social justice values by a farm family east of Los Angeles, she later cofounded the annual COCAP (Community Capital) conference in Oakland, which brings together progressive finance people to showcase new models of restorative economics and finance.
With Jubilee Justice, Mason decided that it is essential to confront issues of race and class as they manifest in land ownership, economics, culture, and our spiritual lives.
One way that the project does this is by helping reclaim land stolen from African Americans over the decades. There is a long and ugly history in American life of whites using various subterfuges – the legal power of eminent domain, discriminatory US Department of Agriculture lending, legal trickery, and more – to cheat African Americans out of their land.