order non hybrid seeds LandRightsNFarming: Re: Violence Against USDA R5 Forest Service Minorities and Women in California

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Re: Violence Against USDA R5 Forest Service Minorities and Women in California

On Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 11:44 PM, Lesa Donnelly <lesa@snowcrest.net> wrote:
To all -
Today, Tanna Franco spoke with a scheduler of Anderson Cooper's show who said they were very interested in the Forest Service California women's issues. She asked Tanna to provide information on our issues and forwarded her to Anderson Cooper's ph. number so she could leave him a personal voice mail. Tanna let them know that there are now many women willing to speak. This email and the attachments are some of what she provided to AC and others. We have alerted the White House. Let the rumpus begin...lesa donnelly

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Violence Against USDA R5 Forest Service Minorities and Women in California
Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2011 02:07:38 +0000 (UTC)
From: jandtfranco@frontier.com
CC: valerie_jarrett@who.eop.gov, Lesa Donnelly <lesa@snowcrest.net>, LawrLCL@aol.com, Kimberly Ganz <kganz@fs.fed.us>, ttidwell@fs.fed.us, jandtfranco <jandtfranco@frontier.com>

October 13, 2011  Dear Sirs:  I am just one of the many minorities included in the enclosed attachments crying out for help (cc's went out 10/14/2011).  My name is Tanna Benner-Franco.  I am a 25 year employee of the USDA Forest Service and currently have been on medical leave since February 19, 2009.  I am an American Indian of the Maidu/Pit River Tribe here in Northern California and have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, reprisal, desperate treatment, and hostile work environment and the agency has turned a deaf ear to my case.  I agreed to mediate my EEO complaint and I was told by the deciding official that I should quit my job and never come back after offering me a small amount of money that would not cover the financial hardships and psychological damages this has caused.  This was after I had exhausted all grievance procedures and was left with no other option but to file an EEO complaint.  I could not mention in my EEO complaint of my efforts to resolve this situation at the lowest l evel through the grievance process. This is just one of many examples here in Region 5 (California).    After the harassment, discrimination, reprisal, workplace bullying, equal pay, and other civil rights issues within the USDA, I, along with many others have joined in on the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees.  The Coalition is an employee resource group founded in 1994 that addresses issues of harassment, discrimination, workplace violence(gun held to the head, punched in the face, suicide, suicide attempts,Native American woman who almost committed suicide this year from the treatment she received from forest, region, and Washington management. The agency tried to coerce her into resigning to get a settlement agreement and also stating that maybe her Native Tribe is not cut out to work for the Forest Service. She has been on medica leave for over a year and rumor has it, that she will be fired - a clear message that she is not valued),racial slurs, reprisal, hostile work environment(Native American firefighter called not long ago was going to quit her job because male fir efighters wrote,"whore" on the wall at her fire station), workplace bullying (just last month a Native American pregnant woman was forced to work in an office filled with mice and feces,putting her and her twins' at health at risk for Hanta Virus. The USDA Coalition of Minority, Lesa Donnelly tried to to get it resolved, even contacting the Secretary's Office-they did not care and refused to act. Lesa Donnelly had to contact the Governor's office and spoke with Vector Borne Disease Control specialists who were so concerned about her health or risk of death that they intervened. As Lesa Donnelly stated in her letter to President Obama on 9/29/2011, The U.S government practiced genocide on Native Americans for many years and it appears the USDA has reinstated this policy in the Forest Service). Sexual assaults, minority women working in fire are forced to urinate in front of men. The violations against USDA minorities and women keeps stacking up and little to no help from Secre tary Vilsack, Joe Leonard.   I met Robin Heard, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration in Placerville this past July 2011. She heard our cries as we thought she claimed to be concern. She mentioned to us in our meeting that she would personally be talking to Randy Moore, Regional Forester(she said with a smile that he was her chauffeur while she was investigating our cases). Robin came up to me and gave me a side hug and said hang in there and that she will do anything and everything to help all of us out. Well again, the agency turned a deaf ear to my case as well as the rest of us. Upon inquiry, USDA officials will assure you that they are taking action to create a "multicultural transformation" and an environment of "inclusiveness".  Lesa Donnelly who is the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees Vice-President along with Lawrence Lucas,President was just in DC last week to speak to Secretary Vilsack.  We feel that we had their attention but one will see.    Perhaps they will use their plan to bring back Shirley Sherrod as a civil rights consultant to convince you they are taking steps to address the problem just so they don't get exposed to the media.  Do not be fooled.  It is not an indicator that harassment, discrimination and retaliation or even violance do not exist or will be eliminated.  It is another charade to hide the problems that do exist.  Shirley Sherrod's imbroglio was a great embarrassment to President Obama and his administration.  However, the Shirley Sherrod debacle pales in comparison to the deplorable conditions, the scandalous incidents, and insidious discrimination I briefly described here.  We are now getting this out to the media and hopefully you will see where the spotlight needs to be directed. Every single one of us would be willing to meet with the Media. I feel that day has come. An Elder of our tribe said a blessing/prayer over me not long ago. He said, "go my brown eyes and do great things for our nation for I see you doing great works for our people."   Lesa Donnelly and Lawrence Lucas are the key people to interview.  I will be contacting our American Indian tribes in every state that Secretary Vilsack is allowing serious workplace violence, harassment, intimidation, discrimination and retaliation being perpetrated against their people and other minorities.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.  Please feel free to contact Lesa Donnelly at (530) 365-3456 or lesa@snowcrest.net.  Sincerely,   /s/Tanna Benner-Franco jandtfranco@frontier.com (530) 252-4507   cc: Native Tribes of United States and Canada Chris Cuomo, 20/20 Anderson Cooper, CNN Primetime News Nightline News Diane Sawyer, ABC News Good Morning America Fox News, Bret Baier, The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity,            Greta Von Sustern, Shepard Smith HLN News Tea Party