NATIONAL JUNETEENTH CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP COUNCIL|
P.O. Box 29
Belzoni, MS 39038
662-247-1471 662-247-1384 Fax
e-mail: MyersFound@aol.com web sites: www.njclc.com
National Campaign For Justice & Hope
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder
April 1, 2001
The National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC) request your support for our National Campaign For Justice & Hope, concerning the Catfish Industry in America. The Catfish Industry, the new plantation in America, makes millions of dollars of profit off the labor of African-American catfish workers who are paid low wages and given little in benefits. These workers are forced to work under deplorable and dehumanizing conditions where racism is rampant. In the Mississippi Delta, America's poorest region, there are no top level catfish industry executives, catfish processors, or few, if any catfish farmers. The only African-American catfish processor was driven out of business several years ago.
Most of the catfish produced by the industry are purchased and consumed by African-Americans in cities throughout the country. These catfish processing plants are mainly located in four southern states, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alabama. The industry returns little from the millions of dollars in profit made off the sell of catfish to the African-American community in these southern states. A key organization in the Catfish Industry, the Catfish Farmers of America, refuses to meet with community leaders to discuss the economic exploitation of poor rural African-American communities across the delta region through the processing and selling of catfish.
Through our National Campaign For Justice and Hope, we want to bring attention to the plight of African-American catfish workers and the negative economic impact the Catfish Industry continues to have on our community. We need your support to bring justice and fairness to poor rural areas like the Mississippi Delta. Through our Delta Catfish Farming Initiative (DCFI) we are trying to open a black owned Catfish Processing Plant in partnership with area black farmers.
Belzoni, Mississippi is known as the "Catfish Capital of the World". The Belzoni-Humphreys Development Foundation has a Catfish Museum and will not allow the development of an exhibit displaying the contributions of African-Americans to the Catfish Industry. The annual World Catfish Festival, held in Belzoni each year, does not include any significant participation from the African-American community. The foundation will not allow African-American members to form a committee to uplift the contributions of African-Americans to the Catfish Industry. They also refused to give an African-American member of the foundation copies of the organization's by-laws and did not allow a group of African-American catfish workers to become members of the foundation.
The same city resources that support the World Catfish Festival are not available to the African-American Heritage Buffalo Fish Festival. The City of Belzoni charges a $32.10 water bill reconnection fee to African-American residents when water services have not been disconnected. A cloud of suspension still looms over the collection and accounting of money for water bills, along with the unfair firing of African-American city workers falsely accused of stealing money.
For information on how you can support the National Campaign for Justice & Hope contact Dr. Myers at 662-247-1471, e-mail: MyersFound@aol.com or web sites: www.BuffaloFishFestival.com or www.actom.com/myersfound.htm - www.actom.com/njclc.htm