HOPKINS PARK – State and local leaders came together in Pembroke Monday to celebrate the Economic Equity Pillar legislation expanding economic opportunity across the state of Illinois signed into law last week.
The legislation covers a wide range of social issues, including prevent employers from discriminating against people with criminal records, reduce interest on payday loans, and improve access to public housing.
Among those in attendance Monday afternoon included Gov. J..B Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, who spoke about the Farm Equity Act inside the bill.
“Pembroke is an area steeped in rich history and some truly brilliant and resilient people. A town founded by formerly enslaved people who cultivated the land and uplifted hope by establishing a loving, nurturing community—a legacy that continues to this day.” Lt. Gov. Stratton told the crowd in attendance. “Today’s celebration of the Economic Equity Pillar that Governor Pritzker signed into law last week, honors the legacy of the Pembroke Township founders and Black farmers like my ancestors, while at the same time bolstering the future of Black farmers in our state.”
The goal of the Farm Equity Act embedded in the legislation requires Ag to conduct a disparity study and use the data to determine economic and other disparities associated with farm ownership and farm operations in this State. A study would work at identifying and comparing economic, land ownership, education, and other related difference between African American farmers and white farmers, but may include data collected in regards to farmers from other socially disadvantaged groups.
“Pembroke Township was once the largest Black farming community in the North—supplying fresh food and produce to urban areas like Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland. Yet the story of Black Farmers here in Pembroke is no different than the stories of so many who no longer own the land.” Lt. Gov. Stratton said during Monday’s hour-long event. “In Illinois, it’s time to repair the harm.”
Among other goals embedded inside the Act include providing access to grants, loans, providing educational and outreach services for Ag-related programs and look to advancing farming in young residents.
Members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, who aided in shaping the pillars embedded inside the legalization, were also on hand at Monday’s event.