Preserving History by Leaving a Legacy
Photo courtesy of Audra Mulkern with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project
It’s here! My first book, “Find Your Fire: Stories and Strategies to Inspire the Changemaker Inside You,” is now available on Amazon. Inside this book, you’ll meet fearless #Firestarters who are building movements that matter. Today’s special preview of “Find Your Fire” features Angie Provost, a #Firestarter whom I am proud to call family.
Angie Provost’s movement is one that hits close to home for me. Really close: Angie and I are cousins, twice removed on my mother’s side.
Even as Angie and her husband, June, worked to uphold their families’ legacy in agriculture in Louisiana, others were working just as hard to tear it down.
“We really started experiencing some harsh reprisals and harassment,” Angie says. They also had to fight back against institutions. They filed a lawsuit alleging unfair treatment by their bank and another suit against a prominent local mill for breach of contract.
Angie knew that they were hardly first farmers of color to go through an ordeal like this. Such treatment had driven her grandparents and many others from their land.
Amid all of this, the Provosts were approached with an opportunity to speak out. It was daunting to consider, but they knew they had to take a stand for good. As Angie says in “Find Your Fire”:
We’re in a time where we could either go backward or we could move forward.
More With Angie
If you’re familiar with the TV series “Queen Sugar,” you might think the Provosts sound like the Bordelon family from that show. So how does real life compare with TV? Angie gives the surprising answer in “Find Your Fire.” Pick up a copy for yourself and for another for a fellow #Firestarter in your family.
Angie and June are featured in “1619,” a podcast by The New York Times that examines the continuing impact of slavery on the U.S. You can listen here.
The Provosts are working on a nonprofit to educate local communities on the importance of and contributions by the black sugarcane farmers of south Louisiana. “We need to start educating more about rural life and the benefits of maintaining that rural life,” Angie says. That connection with our rural history is vital.
“If you strip someone of their legacy and their history, if you don’t educate a community on how that township or area was developed, you’re leaving an entire group of people in an insecure position,” Angie says. “And that community becomes vulnerable to oppressive tactics.”
Learn more at www.provostfarmllc.com.
You can donate at the above link to support Angie and June’s work. Another valuable action? “Especially if you live in a rural community, you can write to your USDA county committeeman or to your city councilperson,” Angie says. “Ask them what are they doing about farm equity and land loss prevention for people of color.”
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