Tom Vilsack

*Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Los Angeles Civil Rights Assn. President Eddie Jones, Youth Advocacy Coalition President, Lita Herron, and Pedro Baez, Editor Voice of the People, on Tuesday, July 20 called on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to apologize to and immediately reinstate Shirley Sherrod to her post as the Agriculture Department’s director of rural development in Georgia. Sherrod resigned possibly under pressure from the department for purported racially biased treatment of a white farmer.

The bias did not happen. The incident was manufactured by a well-known rightwing ideologue and used by conservative outlets to taint Sherrod’s sterling reputation as an honorable public servant, and to hammer the NAACP and other civil rights organizations for recently calling out the tea party activists for their racism.

“The attack on Sherrod was a con job by the right and Vilsack fell for it,” says Hutchinson, “He can now do the right, just and fair thing and apologize and reinstate Sherrod. This will not totally make up for the wrong to her but it will send the message that government administrators can admit and reverse bad decisions, and even more remove the taint from the name and reputation of a dedicated black public servant.”

Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable