Washington - Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee and members of the CBC released the following statement today on the firing of USDA employee Shirley Sherrod:
“It is troubling that Shirley Sherrod was asked for her resignation as Georgia State Director for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of an edited video clip. A full review of the clip demonstrates Ms. Sherrod’s personal transformation. She was clearly educating the public about the power of redemption. It is now apparent that Secretary Vilsack did not have all of the facts available to him and overreacted.
“The Congressional Black Caucus continues to believe that Ms. Sherrod was unfairly asked to resign, without due process and should be reinstated immediately. There are many individuals still serving in the Department of Agriculture who were responsible for years of discrimination against African American farmers.
“We also believe that a national dialogue on race must be held. Last November, we held a forum on race in Washington DC to begin the discussion. The basis for Ms. Sherrod’s resignation is another example of why we must not sweep race under the rug. Rather, we must come together as a nation and recognize that we do not live in a post-racial era and that, while difficult, we must confront these issues head on with clarity and without fear.
“Ms. Sherrod has been an effective public servant and it would be tragic to lose a person of such caliber, competence and commitment to fairness and equality and one who has dedicated her life to working for a more perfect union.”