(Photo by James Eades, Unsplash)

Vermont State Fairgrounds Must Ban the Sale of Racist Objects

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility stands with the Rutland Area NAACP, encouraging the Vermont State Fairgrounds “to take immediate action to review and discuss their current policy with their vendors.”

Last weekend, a vendor at the NEACA Gun Show held in Rutland City on the Vermont State Fairgrounds “was permitted to sell shackles with connections to, or made to appear connected to, the United States’ original sin of slavery.”

The Rutland Area NAACP’s statement on this matter makes one thing perfectly clear: “One of the ways that racism continues to infiltrate our everyday life is by not being conscientious of history in a way that is productive.”

To assure intentional, productive approaches to our history while preventing similar occurrences, we urge VBSR members, our neighbors, and all Vermonters to sign the petition demanding “necessary organizational shifts” at the Vermont State Fairgrounds.

The Rutland Area NAACP had a similar conversation in 2018 with the Vermont State Fairgrounds regarding the sale of confederate flags – but no action was taken. Much has changed in our national conversation on race since 2018 – yet too much has not. However, we believe your petition signature in 2022 can now have a different and meaningful impact.

At VBSR we believe sustainable economic development is only possible through diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Put another way, as the Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity reminds us, “Bigotry is Bad for Business.” Please take a moment to show your support for ending racist behaviors that damage our state, our businesses, our communities, and our families.

The Vermont State Fairgrounds’ Family Fair Policy includes a “zero tolerance for obscene, vulgar, hateful or distasteful actions from any concessionaire.” Let’s help them live up to that commitment.