On June 15, 2020 Alpha Zeta released the following statement -
Alpha Zeta condemns racism and discrimination in all its forms We stand with our Black students, advisors, and alumni. We are hurt and outraged by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor. These tragedies bring to the forefront the fears and injustices that Black Americans have faced every day for generations. The recent instances of police brutality and the ongoing protests across the nation have both shaken us to our core and revealed opportunity – opportunity to do more, to do better, and to be more deliberate in our actions.
The High Council commits itself and its members, as well as all volunteers to ethical, professional, and lawful conduct, including proper use of authority and appropriate decorum and behavior when acting on behalf of the Fraternity of Alpha Zeta.
The Alpha Zeta Code of Conduct clearly states that our members and volunteers will always conduct themselves in a manner that:
- Is free from physical or verbal harassment or inappropriate or unprofessional behavior with regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, marital status, religion, medical condition, national origin, disability, or on account of protected category under federal, state, or local laws.
- Demonstrates respect for individuals in all manifestations of their cultural and linguistic diversity and life circumstances.
- Respects and gives fair consideration to diverse and opposing viewpoints.
We stand with any and all who share the goal of equality regardless of color, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, creed, or disability. We will strive to be more equitable and compassionate through our outreach to the communities we serve, mentorship of the next generation, and the continual goal to create diversity within our Fraternity.
We can do better. We will do better. We pledge to learn from one another and help bend the arc toward justice for all.
After the release of this statement, the High Council established a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force to look at ways we can do better and learn from each other. We are working on the following; updating our Chapter Best Practices Manual with information on ways chapters can work to improve their diversity and inclusion efforts, establishing a Diversity & Inclusion Middaugh Award to recognize chapters who go above and beyond, reaching out to Historically Black Colleges and Universities on starting Alpha Zeta chapters, and more. We are open to hear from you on how we can continue our efforts.
To help you and your chapter educate yourselves on diversity and inclusion in agriculture we have compiled the following resources. If you have anything you would like to add to the list, please reach out to any member of the High Council (contact information here).
Resources for Learning About Racism in Agriculture
Farming While Black by Leah Penniman
Freedom Farmers by Monica White
Dispossession by Pete Daniel
African Americans have lost untold acres of farmland over the last century
Their Family Bought Land One Generation After Slavery. The Reels Brothers Spent Eight Years in Jail for Refusing to Leave It.
The Mississippi Delta's History of Black Land Theft
There were nearly a million black farmers in 1920. Why have they disappeared?
How Racism Has Shaped the American Farming Landscape
Food Justice: Combating Racism in the Agricultural System
The Real Story of Racism at the USDA
Food System Racial Equity Assessment Tool: A Facilitation Guide
TO LISTEN TO
Episode 5: The Land of Our Fathers, Part 1 - 1619 | Podcast
Episode 5: The Land of Our Fathers, Part 2 - 1619 | Podcast
Fighting for the Promised Land: A Story of Farming and Racism
Young Farmers Podcast: Farming While Black
The Millennial Ag Podcast: Episode 040 - Critical Conversations: Racism and Agriculture
INFAS 2019 Webinar on Structural Racism in the Food System
NAFSN Best Practices in Diversity, Inclusion, and Racial Equity Training in Food Systems Webinar
NAFSN Uprooting Racism in the Food System Webinar
NAFSN Building a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Food Systems Network Webinar
NAFSN Food Justice and Black Lives: Voices from the Movement Webinar
NAFSN Land Justice, Black Agrarianism and the Freedom Movement: Emerging Voices Webinar
ORGANIZATIONS TO SUPPORT
Black Church Food Security Network
Black Dirt Farm Collective
Black Urban Growers
Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive
Family Agriculture Resource Management Services
Food Chain Workers Alliance
HEAL Food Alliance
National Black Farmers Association
National Black Food and Justice Alliance
Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers Cooperative of Pittsburgh
Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund
Freedom School Demonstration Farm
Land Loss Prevention Project
Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust
New Communities Land Trust
Seeding Power Fellowship
Soul Fire Farm
Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network