Ways to Make Wayne County Fair For All

By

September 6, 2017

We are pleased to announce that the #WayneCountyFairForAll booth will again provide a presence at this year’s fair. The Wooster/Orrville NAACP and Westminster Presbyterian Church stand in strong opposition to the sale of the Confederate flag and related merchandise at the event which runs Saturday, September 9th through Thursday the 14th. 

The appearance of Ku Klux Klan flyers and a recruiting poster in Wooster this past month came as a shock to many people in our community. It was saddening to witness one of the largest white supremacist protests in recent history taking place in Charlottesville, VA. The unfortunate reality is that white supremacy is no stranger to Wayne County and the sale of the Confederate flag, clothing, and related memorabilia at the fair is evidence of this pernicious belief.

Last year, participants at the #WayneCountyFairForAll booth witnessed several disturbing incidents such as expression of derogatory statements and acts of intimidation. Although the overall experience at the fair was positive for booth staffers, we cannot minimize these incidents of intimidation and verbal abuse that did take place, especially as they relate to the sale of Confederate flags and items imprinted with the flag.  It is clear that permitting the sale of such items perpetuates the attitude of racism and intolerance that has a crippling effect on our community and the family atmosphere of the fair.

The request to ban the sale of the Confederate flag and/or Confederate flag merchandise by vendors was first extended by the Wooster/Orrville NAACP to the Wayne County Fair Board after the Charleston church shooting on June 17, 2015, when 9 people were killed by Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white supremacist. Since then 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. 

It is with renewed effort and vision that we encourage fairgoers to stop by the #WayneCountyFairForAll booth and sign a postcard asking Mr. Reichert, president of the Wayne County Fair Board, to cease approving the sale or display of Confederate flags and/or Confederate flag merchandise by vendors.  In our effort to bring people with differing viewpoints together in a conversation, fairgoers may participate in a moderated conversation over dinner on this topic, as we aim to get to know each other better.

Also, we are planning an event at the #WayneCountyFairForAll booth on Sunday, September 10 at 4:00 pm with Ms. Jeanine Donaldson, Executive Director of the Lorain YMCA and chair of the Fair Minded Coalition of Lorain County. She will be speaking along with Mr. John Clay, president of the Wooster/Orrville NAACP and Rev. Andries Coetzee, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church. 

It is crucial for all readers of this press release to take action in support of the #WayneCountyFairForAll booth this month, as we work together to further a community which values the dignity of all people.

 

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