civil rights

California’s water board hit with civil rights complaint over tainted water

A coalition of public interest groups filed a civil rights complaint against California’s top water board last week, accusing the agency of perpetuating environmental racism along the state’s Central Coast. According to the complaint, the region’s agricultural industry has contaminated Latino farmworkers’ drinking water with dangerous levels of nitrates, and the State Water Resources Control Board is partly to blame.

USDA takes average of 630 days to process civil rights complaints, lawmakers told

For decades, the USDA has been accused of racial and gender discrimination in its programs, hiring and employment practices, and it has been subject to both class action lawsuits and settlements. A hearing on Tuesday examined shortcomings in its handling of civil rights complaints and explored paths toward improvement. (No paywall)

Judge says Iowa ag-gag law can’t be enforced, for now

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on Monday that will prevent the enforcement of Iowa’s ag-gag law while a challenge to the law proceeds through the courts. Animal and civil rights advocates cheered the ruling as a victory, if a temporary one, in the nation-wide effort to …

Earp ‘isn’t the right person’ to head USDA civil rights office, says House panel leader

The head of USDA’s civil rights office, Trump nominee Naomi Earp, said during a House hearing on Tuesday that some people file multiple complaints of workplace discrimination as a way to punish their managers, “a pretty effective tool” in her view. “These remarks show me — and should show …

Q&A with Monica White: Black farmers’ role in the struggle for civil rights

In Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, Monica M. White, assistant professor of environmental justice at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, traces the history of black land-based social movements from the time of slavery to today’s urban gardens in Rust Belt cities. (No paywall)

Employee alleges years of sexual harassment at USDA

At a USDA event for Black History Month last week, Rosetta Davis took the stage to describe her experiences of sexual harassment and retaliation during her 16 years working for the agency.