Wayne County Fair
Westminster has a long history in engaging social justice issues with work towards reconciliation. With our faith rooted in the local context of Wooster, Ohio, and a vision for a more just world, we are challenged to become more mindful through prayer, worship, conversation, and engagement as we continue the long and arduous task of dismantling racism and white supremacy.
In working with local partners, especially the Wooster/Orrville NAACP, we have identified opportunities to build the “Beloved Community” here in Wooster through the Wayne County Fair For All movement.
Uphold the welcome, family atmosphere, and diversity of Wayne County, Ohio and the Wayne County Fair.
Join us in working to support the welcome, family atmosphere, and diversity of Wayne County, Ohio and the Wayne County Fair.
In the aftermath of the shooting by white supremacist Dylann Roof on June 17, 2015 in the Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina, the Fair Minded Coalition of Wayne County, Ohio, led by the Wooster/Orrville NAACP, has been petitioning the Wayne County Fair Board to prohibit the sale and display of the Confederate flag to no avail.
What is asked of them is very simple and in line with a policy adopted by the Ohio State Fair in 2015:
“The Ohio State Fair has long held a policy that prohibits the sale of merchandise that contains offensive wording, lettering or graphics. As such, beginning with the 2015 Ohio State Fair, the sale or display of Confederate flags and/or Confederate flag merchandise shall be prohibited. Any vendors found to be selling any items featuring the image of the Confederate flag will be asked to promptly remove those items.”
Roof's unspeakable act (and other more recent acts of racially-motivated domestic terrorism) served as a wake-up call to people of conscience across our nation. It is no longer possible to maintain the fiction that the Confederate battle flag is simply an innocuous symbol of a nostalgic version of "Southern pride." In recent years, participation in White supremacist groups has risen sharply and has been more present, even in our backyards in Northeast Ohio. ALL of these groups cherish and display the Confederate flag; ALL of them openly advocate racial discrimination; and some of them actively promote violence. Dylann Roof himself adopted it as his emblem.
We feel it is time to put this divisive symbol of hatred and racism behind us. In South Carolina and Mississippi, Republicans and Democrats agreed to remove the flag and its image from government institutions. Large corporations such as Walmart, Target, Amazon, eBay, and Sears are banning the sale of Confederate flag merchandise from all online and brick and mortar stores. Here in Ohio, the flag has been banned from our State Fair, and now unfortunately, county fairs, including the Wayne County Fair, and small town festivals have become the last-stop shop for Confederate memorabilia.
It is time for us to stand together as a community, and for all those concerned, to uphold the welcome, family atmosphere, and diversity of Wayne County, Ohio and the Wayne County Fair. Please cease approving the sale or display of Confederate flags and/or Confederate flag merchandise by vendors at the Wayne County Fair as it has no place at a family and community event that is welcoming to ALL people.
See Mark Potok's, Senior Fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, presentation at Westminster on Sunday, June 26, 2016 entitled: The Confederate Battle Flag and the Wayne County Fair: Making Sense of a Symbol That Still Divides Us
Mark is one of the country's leading experts on the world of extremism and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the SPLC's award-winning, quarterly journal, The Intelligence Report and its investigative reports. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Mark has appeared on numerous television news programs and is quoted regularly by journalists and scholars in both the United States and abroad. In addition, he has testified before the U.S. Senate, the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights and in other venues. Before joining the SPLC staff in 1997, Mark spent 20 years as an award-winning journalist at major newspapers, including USA Today, The Dallas Times Herald, and The Miami Herald. While at USA Today, he covered the 1993 Waco siege, the rise of militias, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the trial of Timothy McVeigh.
Attend fair board meetings
Even if board members refuse to respond, this is a good way to show your solidarity with local people of color and to ensure that our momentum continues. The fair board meets the third Monday of every month. Meetings begin promptly at 8:00 PM, and you are encouraged to arrive at 7:45 PM to get a seat. Meetings are held at the fairgrounds in the small building on the west side of (and next to) the grandstand.
Send letters to the editor of The Daily Record
Help us articulate our position. The more voices that offer support with differing points of emphasis, the more effectively we'll communicate with the larger community. Letters to the editor of The Daily Record are limited to 400 words and can be submitted here.
Register as a member of the fair
For $15.00, you get 6 tickets, the option to vote in board elections, and the ability to enter arts, crafts, baked goods, etc. in the fair. Please register and plan on entering artwork that is anti-racist, anti-oppression, or otherwise prosocial in nature. For instructions follow this link.
Stay in touch!
As we build our base of supporters, contact Westminster if you are interested in receiving updates, participating, volunteering, or being an organizer. We are gearing up for the 2018 Fair this Fall, and will update information here as soon as possible.