Please join us Tuesday, August 4th at 6:00 PM for the Annual Meetings of the Berkshire Community Land Trust and Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires and screening of a short film on the history of the community land trust movement called Arc of Justice. Following the screening, we will hold a conversation about the role of a community land trust in the Berkshires.
Please note: This event is limited to members of the Berkshire Community Land Trust – a commitment of $10 or 10 BerkShares per household per year. Your donation funds our education programs and the acquisition of land. Members are invited to our Annual Meeting and elect our Board of Trustees. Members may receive notification by postal mail when homes on our land become available for sale, and may have the opportunity to purchase the property before the sale is open to the general public. If you would like to become a member, please send membership dues to Berkshire Community Land Trust, P.O. Box 276, Great Barrington, MA 01230 or submit it online here.
Arc of Justice traces the remarkable journey of New Communities, Inc. (NCI) in southwest Georgia, a story of racial justice, community organizing, and perseverance in the face of enormous obstacles.
NCI was created in 1969 in Albany, Georgia by leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, including Congressman John Lewis, and Charles and Shirley Sherrod, to help secure economic independence for African American families. For 15 years, NCI cooperatively farmed nearly 6,000 acres, the largest tract of land in the United States owned by African Americans at the time, but racist opposition prevented them from implementing plans to build 500 affordable homes as part of their community land trust.
Unable to secure government loans to cope with the impact of successive years of drought, NCI lost the land to foreclosure in 1985. But 25 years later it was given new life as a result of a successful class action lawsuit brought by hundreds of African American farmers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for loan discrimination. With the settlement, the original founders purchased a 1,600-acre plantation once owned by the largest slave owner and richest man in Georgia. NCI is now growing pecans and using the antebellum mansion on the property as a retreat and training center, still committed to its original mission of promoting racial justice and economic development.
Call for Board of Trustee nominations
Each year at the Annual Meeting, members are asked to select a non-leasing member representative to serve a 3-year term on the Board of Trustees. Kathy Orlando has been nominated to run for reelection.
Kathy Orlando grew up in the Berkshires and went on to receive her law degree to better help the conservation initiatives in her community. She is the Executive Director of Land Protection for the Sheffield Land Trust. She was first elected to the board in 2001.
If you would like to nominate a non-leasing member to fill the three-year position, please submit a written statement, no more than 150 words long, on the nominee’s qualifications.
Nominations should be sent by regular mail to Berkshire Community Land Trust, P.O. Box 276, Great Barrington, MA 01230 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Fri., July 24, 2020.