Shirley Sherrod is a Baker County Georgia native who grew up on her family’s farm. In March 1965, her father was murdered by a white farmer who was not prosecuted. The tragic murder of her father when she was 17 years old, had a profound impact on her life and led to her decision to stay in the south to work for change.
Mrs. Sherrod helped to start the civil rights movement in Baker County and later married Charles Sherrod, one of the founding members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and leader of SNCC’s work in southwest Georgia.
With her husband and others, she helped to form New Communities, Inc., the first Community Land Trust in the United States. New Communities serves as a laboratory and model in the movement toward the development of community land trusts (CLTs) throughout the country. There are more than 200 CLTs today.
Mrs. Sherrod has a B.A. in Sociology from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia and a M.A. in Community Development from Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio. In 2015, she was awarded a Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Sojourner-Douglas College in Baltimore, Maryland. She has received many awards for her work in civil rights and as an advocate for farmers and rural residents.
In 2009, Mrs. Sherrod was appointed by the Obama Administration as USDA Georgia State Director of Rural Development. She became the first person of color to hold the position. Mrs. Sherrod was forced to resign her position in 2010 after conservative blogger, Andrew Brietbart edited a speech she made at a NAACP banquet, to make it appear that she discriminated against a white farmer while serving in her federally appointed position. Subsequent events showed that Brietbart’s edited video was taken out of context and was part of broader comments that conveyed a completely different meaning. USDA Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack apologized and offered her another position, which she declined.
Mrs. Sherrod serves as the Executive Director of the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education, Inc., Vice President for Development for New Communities, Inc. and State Lead for the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice (SRBWI)
Mrs. Sherrod is married to Rev. Charles Sherrod and they have two children and five granddaughters.
Sankofa is a word from the Akan people of Ghana. It means “go back and fetch it” and reminds us of the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bring it into the present in order to ensure a strong future. The Sankofa Series is a monthly webinar series sharing the wisdom from past NESAWG conferences again and using it to help us move forward in creating meaningful change in the food system.
NESAWG has 26 years of presenting our It Takes A Region annual conferences. In the past we have had dynamic keynote speakers, panelists, and presenters who are working towards a fair food system. In alignment with one of NESAWG’s core values "A farm and food system for all”, presenters at the NESAWG Conferences are multi-racial and economically diverse, and span across food system movements, representing various sectors and community. Presenters have been youth leaders, elders and all those in between. The Sankofa Series will feature some of your favorites from the past, revisiting some of the pertinent information shared as we continue to seek solutions to issues within the food system and create positive change.
This webinar series will happen from September to February.
Our past webinars include:
September Webinar - Youth and Food Justice Education with Tobias Fox and Youth Leaders from VietLead
Tuesday, September 22, 2020; 4 - 5:30pm Eastern
October Webinar- Harvesting Fruits Of Food Justice With Rev. Dr. Heber Brown, III
Tuesday, October 20, 2020; 4 - 5:30pm Eastern
November Webinar- Indigenous Land Sovereignty With Stephanie Morningstar
Tuesday, November 24, 2020; 4 - 5:30pm Eastern
December Webinar- From Farm To Winter Table With Neftalí Durán
Tuesday, December 15, 2020; 4 - 5:30pm Eastern
Registration fees for the Sankofa Series webinars are by donation. Donations will be used to cover the cost of putting on this webinar, including stipends to presenters and technology upgrades. Any profit remaining after costs are covered will be split equally among each presenter (or their organization) and NESAWG. NESAWG will put our share of profits towards our 2021 Conference Scholarship Fund.
Below are our suggested donation levels. Please choose one that feels do-able for you, your budget, and your commitment to economic and social justice.
Free Ticket - suggested for attendees who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), low-income, students, youth (defined as 24 and younger,) have been significantly financially impacted by COVID, living with disability, and/or family farmers.
$15 - attendees who can only afford to pay this rate or who work for an organization with a budget of less than $300K who is paying their way
$30 - the estimated cost of attendance based on registration projections. Attendees who can afford to pay this rate or who work for an organization with a budget between $300K-$700K who is paying their way
$50 - high-income individuals, those who work for an organization with a budget of more than $700K, and funders