Wooster/Orrville NAACP and Westminster Presbyterian Church Response to Vendor Contract extended by the Wayne County Fair Board


August 22, 2016

It is our view that there has been a gross injustice committed in the handling of the Vendor Application for a #BlackLivesMatter booth at the Wayne County Fair scheduled to take place on September 10-15, 2016.  We believe that the Fair Board has acted unfairly and breached its civil responsibility in responding to the booth application by the Wooster/Orrville NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and Westminster Presbyterian Church on February 18th, 2016.  Upon receiving the vendor’s contract on Monday, August 15, 2016, both the Wooster/Orrville NAACP and Westminster Presbyterian Church were disheartened by the appearance that the Fair Board had deliberately excluded the NAACP in order to silence the voice of an underrepresented minority. To exacerbate matters, the Board continues to approve and permit the sale of oppressive and bigoted symbols such as the Confederate flag. It is incumbent upon all readers of this press release to take action to come to the aid of those fighting for justice in this matter.

Andries Coetzee, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church and member of the NAACP, has stated that he will take the matter up with the Wayne County Fair Board’s president, Mr. Don Reichert, and secretary, Mr. Pete Armstrong. Rev. Coetzee states:

“It seems very difficult to believe that the exclusion of the Wooster/Orrville NAACP and its president Ms. Juanita Greene was an accidental omission.  The fact that Mr. Armstrong called me, a white male, on Friday August 12 and informed me of the Fair Board’s decision, that I then again mentioned to him that the booth was a joint venture between the church and the Wooster/Orrville NAACP, and then to get the contract only in Westminster’s name, while no contact was made with Ms. Greene or the Wooster/Orrville NAACP, is blatantly disrespectful of the NAACP and its leadership. 

One cannot help but see this deliberate omission of the Fair Board as racist and sexist.  While the board claims the approval of the sale of the Confederate Flag by vendors is a right under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, it does not appear that they want to extend the same right to a #BlackLivesMatter booth.”

Since August of last year, a coalition of individuals and churches (including Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Wayne County Unitarian Universalist Fellowship) led by the Wooster/Orrville NAACP, has been petitioning the Wayne County Fair Board to uphold the welcoming family atmosphere, and diversity of Wayne County, Ohio.  These efforts have proven fruitless as the Wayne County Fair Board has become more persistent in its resolution to allow vendors to sell or display Confederate flags and/or Confederate flag merchandise.  In January of 2016 the Wayne County Fair Board’s president, Mr. Reichert, was instrumental in passing such a resolution at the Ohio Association Fair Managers Board (OFMA that states that the OFMA “does permit and will support a Fair 's decision to allow private vendors to sell Civil War merchandise including but not limited to Confederate and Union flags and banners, clothing memorabilia, and other related items at their fairs.” Permitting the sale of such items perpetuates the attitude of racism and intolerance that has crippled the soul of our country and continues to threaten our integrity as a nation.  It is shocking to see that such pernicious symbols are allowed to prevail in light of the strides made for American civil rights over the years past.

In their effort for the fair to be a welcoming event for all of Wayne Counties’ residence, the Wooster/Orrville NAACP and Westminster decided to apply for a #BlackLivesMatter booth with education as its sole purpose.  The objective of the booth was clearly stated in the application; it aims to inform and enlighten fairgoers on the history as well as the present-day perception for African Americans regarding the Confederate Flag, and the profound effects of white privilege, specifically on the Wayne County community, and on our society in general in the United States.

In her response Juanita Greene, president of the Wooster/Orrville NAACP states:

“It is very disappointing that the Fair Board lacks the desire to make the Wayne County Fair a welcoming and safe place for all fair-goers.  While I do recognize the right of patrons at the Fair to wear and display symbols expressing their political and social views, it is heartbreaking that the Fair Board, representing the people of Wayne County, will allow vendors to sell and make profit from a symbol of hatred and racism.  This is not an issue of freedom of speech; this is about ignoring the aspirations of our community that strongly feels that the flag represents racism and hatred against people of color. We need the people of Wayne County to claim back our identity as a welcoming and accepting people, as we all have a moral duty to protect the rights of all people, especially the minority.”

Currently there is an online petition where community-minded people can respond to Ms. Greene’s call to action and add their voice to uphold the atmosphere of inclusion and tolerance, as well as the diversity of Wayne County, Ohio and the Wayne County Fair. Please visit wpcwooster.org/petition and express your support.  It is time for the peoples of Wayne County to voice the view of the majority and stand up against exclusion and bigotry.  Please take action here.  

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Comments (47) - Post a Comment
The Confederate flag has no place at the Wayne Co. Fair. The Fair Board should be ashamed for allowing this hateful symbol to be available. I will boycott the fair and will not return until smarter people are incharge. My husband and I lived in SC for 10 years and Wooster folks will never understand the pain it causes and the embarrassment to those of us who understand history.
Diane Clement at 8:35pm EDT - August 22, 2016
As I stated at a meeting of Wayne County Fair Board this flag they call a Civil War banner was not a flag that represented all CSA (Confederate States of America). There was NO single flag that represented CSA. Study history.
This flag was popularized by the racist group Ku Kluz Klan, following Brown vs Bd of Education Supreme Court decision, which desegradated public schools.
This symbol merely stands for white supremacy, not CSA. It is a symbol of HATE.
It should not be okay with the WC fair board, and should not be sold there.
Not allowing Black lives Matter to have a booth at our county fair is a stupid decision. Just how RACIST is the all white fair board? That seems clear to me.
There are many members in local NAACP who are very angry about the racist decision by the fair board. I am one of those members
Jean Mohr at 10:10pm EDT - August 22, 2016
The information is irrefutable - the Confederate Flag is a racist symbol. By allowing its sale at the fair, you are condoning its promotion. Hundreds of young men from Wayne County stood up against all that the Confederate flag represents by fighting and dying in the Civil War. Honor them and respect the current citizens of Wayne County and change this reprehensible policy.
Marynell Reardon at 10:28am EDT - August 23, 2016
This appears to be more than a slight or an oversight. It is clear by their response that black lives and concerns do not matter to them. If their rationale is that they only put one name on a listing, they should have asked which name to place, and stated that in the application, or in their response. The fair is a respectful family venue of a section of our community for the community at large, but it is apparently not for the enjoyment for all of our community. As far a public relations and education goes, its going wrong.
Jim Bird at 2:42pm EDT - August 23, 2016
The confederate flag is no more racist than what one chooses to believe it as such.
Just as the BLM claims to not be racist in their representation of who they are & what they stand for.
I believe in the fair board's decision
DJ at 4:25pm EDT - August 23, 2016
The Southern Flag should fly with pride along with the American flag, it has nothing to black people,,, has a lot to do with the lives that help build this country,, In fact, should be a law to discriminate against it.
John at 6:09pm EDT - August 23, 2016
Please make no mistake, the confederate flag represents the southern states secession from the United States to form a separate country where slavery, the owning of PEOPLE who had a different skin color would be allowed, after all it would be good for business. Countless lives were lost, because some felt it was perfectly fine to own PEOPLE as property, so that they could prosper. They attacked a United State fort, bombarding it until it surrendered and start one of the deadliest wars in our history. I would no more carry a confederate flag than I would a Nazi flag, they both represent nations with no regard to human life or liberty. The fact that the Wayne county fair board would allow such disrespect of our country,for those that died to defend all peoples right to liberty. and for the concerns of those who, if the south states won, would be considered property is absolutely shameful.
LK at 8:50pm EDT - August 23, 2016
This is Lee's battle flag. If you can't get a grip on history.. or can't see that it was about taxation and states' independence and rights, then you need a basic education. If you are offended by history, you need a shrink and deprogramming.
derek at 9:43pm EDT - August 23, 2016
The Civil War erupted over states rights not slavery. The South mostly in favor of states rights, & North wanted national gov't to have more power over the states.
Please learn your history before you judge. History may repeat....
DJ at 10:27pm EDT - August 23, 2016
So here is the basic education. The South's move to secede because their fear that Lincoln might do something about slavery. The Confederacy was named after the Articles of Confederation, but had nothing to do with state's rights, according to Jefferson and Lee and multiple others. In the Articles, it states plainly that it was about slavery. Multiple states didn't even vote to leave the union, but were manipulated into by big businesses which owned the bulk of the slaves. After the rebellion was quashed, the Daughters of the Confederacy actively rewrote history, knowing that the victor usually writes it. Among the texts they placed in schools was the fictions that the war was about state's rights, slaves happily benefited from slavery, Lincoln was a minor historic character, and the KKK was protecting black people from rioters. Try finding any antebellum documents that support state's rights which the South was historically arguing against. Also, Lee supported the North but felt obligated to Virginia to serve, no slaves fought against the North, there were Republicans in the South (Booth was a Southern Republican who shot Lincoln), and a third of the progressive Northern Republicans came from the Democratic Party.
Jim at 10:34pm EDT - August 23, 2016
The Symbols of the Confederate Battle Flag as well as the Swastika existed long before their use in modern times. Their use has been basterdized by people for their own use. As to the Confederate Battle Flag please do not disrespect the Honorable men who fought and died under her, they were Americans first and foremost.
If you want to argue race and history then act like adults recconizing there is good and bad in all things but please quit perpetuating this argument on this honorable flag and the right to purchase and display it. Remember you must honor both sides to let each other be heard.
Tom C at 12:11am EDT - August 24, 2016
The 1st desegregated American army unit fought under that flag. I point this out as symbols can mean many different things to many different peoples. The swastika is a part of the Hindu culture and was in use long before Hitler for example.

I grew up in the 80's and to me the Rebel flag meant a 69 charger, short shorts and some how pulling off peeling out on dirt. Butt hurt liberals/progressive are not the arbiters of what can be and what cannot be sanctioned FREE SPEECH.

As Jim your post is revisionist liberal/progressive BS. Read a history book.
Eric Evans at 12:23am EDT - August 24, 2016
Opponents of our message say the flag is a historical symbol. I heartily agree and ask that it be put in a museum, as has happened all over the country. The Confederate flag didn't just recently become a hate symbol. It has always been that. But now there is greater awareness of its significance. Times do change, and we must change with them or be doomed to repeat the malevolent past.
Lucia Weinroth at 7:42pm EDT - August 24, 2016
People who scream that liberals are not reading their history books apparently have not done so either. Recent publications, complete with documents of the period, are very clear that states' rights meant the right to own slaves. The deaths of 9 Christians of color in their house of worship last year made it worthwhile to study the issue again. Even Thomas Jefferson wrote prolifically about people of color, and what he wrote was ugly and racist and helpful in getting a lot of black men lynched for daring to look at a white woman. And, he wrote, black women were only attractive to orangutans as sexual objects. Look at the ugly reality please and do anything you can to change it.
Lucia Weinroth at 7:49pm EDT - August 24, 2016
One the rebel flag is NOT the confederate flag. The confederate flag looks almost exactly like the Texas state flag except that it had a circle of stars in the flue field instead of one lone star. The so called Rebel flag was a Confederate Army unit flag during the war. After the War it represented the movement of states right s the south and individual freedom. Basically a lot of what the Gadsden flag does now. The Rebel flag got repurposed by the Northern democrat founder of the KKK and was used by them. While other used it to celebrate their heritage. Which are completely separate issues. Almost like the Hindu and the Nazi use of the Swastika I referenced earlier. Folks are reacting out of emotion and possibly politics and not going to the FACTS and HISTORY of this issue.
Eric Evans at 7:53pm EDT - August 24, 2016
Instead of arguing over a flag (or type or flag) that is being sold, why not concentrate on real issues that are happening right now? The "flags" have been sold at the fair since I was a child over 30 years ago, and no one has bothered to care until now. Instead of wanting to cause conflict, pose a solution with information! Ways to help the heavily Afican American population currently facing detrimental loss in NOLA, the education and lack of supplies to children in low income areas, resources to the elderly that may have slipped between the cracks- especially in our own community. By constantly focusing on all of the negative, you are only reinforcing the negative and those that support it. Show the positivity and the light that will happen once everyone stops focusing on the petty materialistic things and shift our energy on those in need. If you truly want to show the support of any fellow American, show it with actions and ideas that can only bring out the best. We are better people than this in Wooster, and bringing political things to the fair where families are trying to have 5 days of a good time with their children is not the type of adult behavior we should condone. There are 360 more days in the year where adults can hash this out, don't make it so the kids have to suffer through it.
Jorie Fahrney at 9:40pm EDT - August 24, 2016
This is easy. If you don't like the flag don't buy it. But BLM is a racist group plains and simple. Because if I started a WLM group I would be called a racist. We are Americans , not African Americans or Latino Americans not Asian American. Just Americans. Period
Jason h at 5:26pm EDT - August 25, 2016
From what I gather Westminster Presbyterian Church and NAACP has a booth at the fair for educational purposes, so I'm not understanding this peticular issue.
MC at 8:09pm EDT - August 25, 2016
What about all lives matter??? As a church that's what you should represent. I think it's racists being blm. I can't start a group called white lives matter because it's racists. Also read your history .... do you know how many white men died protecting slavery under the confederate flag.... as Christians your Bellerive should be all lives matter!!!
Mm at 11:25pm EDT - August 25, 2016
The lack of education concerning the start of the Civil War on this thread is stunning in its ignorance. Yes, READ your history and the Secession documents and the reasons Southern leaders gave as to why they broke away. The states rights' argument was denounced by South Carolina in its secession document and the majority of Southern states in those documents, and the Southern-led Roger Taney Supreme Court in Ableman v. Booth said no state had the right to disagree with federal law. In other words, Northern states had to return slaves as property and could not violate federal law -- they had no states' rights to do that. Taxation is a laughable excuse that is not supported in those secession documents as well. The South certainly wanted to protect slavery, which was the most valuable resource in the country. It is ignorant to think that anything other than slavery was at the heart of the war, as evidenced by the violence in Kansas. Was the issue in Kansas over taxes (what a laugh) or slavery? It is simply a white supremacist/racist argument that the war wasn't ignited by the issue of slavery -- nothing else justified the war.
Brian at 2:02pm EDT - August 27, 2016
Eric Evans, the South switched its political name but not its core beliefs political beliefs beginning with Nixon's Southern strategy. I have NEVER read that Nathan Bedford Forest or the North founded the KKK. Perhaps you could share that "source?"of that information, because "beliefs" aren't always facts.
Brian at 2:07pm EDT - August 27, 2016
Sorry, Eric Evans, this is a lie. You claim "The 1st desegregated American army unit fought under that flag," but you have no evidence to back that up. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was certainly not a desegregated unit -- in fact, the Southern Congress didn't even agree to consider that possibility until the the final months of the war and never followed through on that measure. I assure you and everyone else -- there is no evidence of the Confederacy arming black units and having them fight as a uniformed, unified force. It is simply a white supremacist lie .
Brian at 2:14pm EDT - August 27, 2016

Lie huh. Try again. I don't lie. Go to Arlington national cemetery and SEE On the far side of Arlington National Cemetery, in a little known place, is the
cemetery’s largest monument. It is the Confederate Memorial that stands over the graves
of Confederate Soldiers. On this monument is a carving of a black soldier, not in chains,
but in a Confederate uniform marching along side his fellow soldiers. The sculptor of
this monument was Moses Ezekiel. A Confederate veteran who knew what the true
history of the war was. Ezekiel himself was a minority in the Confederate Army being
Jewish, so he knew some of the trials the blacks were facing in the country. He was a
native Virginian who graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and fought in the
Battle of New Market where several black Confederates saw action.

I am not lying you sir simply don't KNOW what you are talking about.
Eric Evans at 2:24pm EDT - August 27, 2016
I think it's great, the Civil War flag is a historic symbol not one of racism regardless of how you try to portray it. It is clear that the most racist group active in our country is black lives matter. You do not deserve a place at the fair and I think it's great I will not see your booth there as I purchase my confederate flag
Jay at 8:41pm EDT - August 27, 2016
Three cheers for the Wayne County Fairboard for standing your ground.
Bob Fisher at 9:58pm EDT - August 27, 2016
For Brian who called me a liar: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/15/Confederate_Monument_-_E_frieze_-_Arlington_National_Cemetery_-_2011.JPG/800px-Confederate_Monument_-_E_frieze_-_Arlington_National_Cemetery_-_2011.JPG

So much for no evidence. If you name call and slink away when proven WRONG. You might be a liberal progressive.
Eric Evans at 10:15pm EDT - August 27, 2016
Ignorance is bliss and people need to learn to educate themselves.
John Smith at 11:24pm EDT - August 27, 2016
Ignorance is bliss and people need to learn to educate themselves.
John Smith at 11:24pm EDT - August 27, 2016
Black lives matter. What about all other ethnicities? Other groups, and suddenly it's racist. It is about being American, taking responsibility, and not self oppression nor playing the victim. No other group displays such bigotry as black lives matter. BAN.
Derek Roland at 11:35pm EDT - August 27, 2016
It should be clear to anyone with more than one brain cell that the board has aligned themselves with the losing side of history. Progress will march forward until equality between us all is achieved. The banner wavers of a flag that represents nothing but an evil within US history will eventually die out and be ridiculed by history and our future generations. This is a terrible decision and shows a bigoted attitude with the board that must be opposed by every decent member of the community. Its yet another reason why the BLM movement has to exist until equality and decency is achieved. I for one will not be spending a dollar this year on the fair, much to my personal disappointment. Shame on the board.
Bill Thornhill at 2:30pm EDT - August 28, 2016
News Flash...the civil war is over. The north won! Now do we delete history and scrub the books of the confederate army and it's flag
Josh Wilfong at 8:42am EDT - August 29, 2016
OK, Eric. You didn't lie -- you just think a couple slaves in Confederate uniforms make them "soldiers." Perhaps you will listen to an expert and not allow white supremacists or a Hollywood-styled monument to represent the truth of the war, because we know all monuments are 100 percent true. Right? https://youtu.be/fYFIWlGJhjM
Brian at 8:41pm EDT - August 31, 2016
I provided EVIDENCE with citations of Confederate Black soldier from historical documents and historic carved stone monuments. AT the bottom of the link I provided all items are sourced you provided rhetoric and opinion. My proof literally is carved in STONE. You can provide all the links in the world of those bloviating your view point. But it IS NOT PROOF and certainly NOT on the level of proof I have provided.

Eric Evans at 8:54pm EDT - August 31, 2016
Eric, sorry to burst your lie again. This is from Wikipedia, but easily found on other sites. Your Hollywood statue is simply this from Moses Ezekiel -- There are six figures (three in high relief, three in low relief) facing Minerva on the southeast corner of the mount. A uniformed black slave, following his master to war, is depicted among the six figures on the southeast.[44][139][147] The slave is not a soldier, although the image is often referred to as a "black soldier". It is, as the UDC pointed out in 1914, "a faithful Negro body-servant following his young master".[148] This particular image was inspired by Thomas Nelson Page's 1887 Lost Cause story, Marse Chan: A Tale of Old Virginia.[149]

So there it is -- a uniformed slave, not a soldier. However, Neo-Confederates and the Klan will believe anything.
Brian at 9:42pm EDT - September 6, 2016
West minister has been one of the historical places for the members of Great Britain. The use of the place and bestessays has been shred for the use of the resources and sources for the people of this country.
Samuel Shumack at 1:33am EST - February 17, 2018
Why is this rhetoric being brought up again? Neither side will concede it's points and it is just used to inflame people again.
While I am here can someone ansewer me this.
Why do people OF COLOR dislike the use of being refered to as COLORED?
NAACP uses the name COLORED in its national name so what is proplem?
W T Cramer at 3:25pm EST - February 17, 2018
Why is this "rhetoric" being brought up again? I suppose the same reason any form of persuasion is used when there is disagreement. When there was slavery, rhetoric was used to persuade people that it was wrong. When women wanted to vote, rhetoric was used to persuade people that it was women's right to vote. When any law is up for adoption, rhetoric isused to persuade people to vote for it, or to vote against it.

And it's true that NAACP stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1909 it was one of the few polite ways to reference a people, and encapsulated people of any color, any heritage, any minority.

Context matters. If you are referring to someone as a 'colored' person, you are either using an anachronism, a archaic period term, or possibly denigrating them by referencing a time when the laws supported "colored only' drinking fountains, schools, or other means of segregation, which rhetoric changed.

Think of all the names used to denigrate Jews, Germans, Italians, immigrants. Would you use terms from WWII to describe them today?
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