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Community Foundation Boycotting Lorain County Fair Over Confederate Flag

The call is growing louder for the Lorain County Fair to ban the Confederate flag. The Community Foundation of Lorain County will boycott the fair as long as the flag is permitted onsite.

The foundation is latest in a list of entities pushing for a ban, including grassroots group Lorain County Fair Minded Coalition and local and state officials.

The foundation’s board unanimously supported a boycott and is calling on the fair board to instate a ban on the flag, according to a written statement. The foundation is also asking local businesses and nonprofits, as well as fair sponsors, to boycott the event if the flag is permitted.

“We are not only witness to the depth and range of emotions in our community, we are feeling those ourselves,” the statement said. “And yet our local Lorain County Fair Board continues to embrace Racism through its support of the Confederate Flag. The glorification of this symbol of anti-American rebellion and racial hatred cannot be supported.”

Big-box store Meijer, which opened a Lorain location earlier this month, withdrew its support for the county fair last week.

The Community Federation’s board and staff recognize of Lorain County’s diversity, said President and CEO Cynthia Andrews, and are taking steps to promote inclusion.

“I think we have a unique opportunity here with the fair coming up, and certainly in times of this pandemic as well,” Andrews said. “How do we support each other and continue to come together as a community?”

The foundation’s community engagement committee plans to discuss the boycott and other efforts to address racial inequality at a July 23 meeting, Andrews said, as well as plan for a fund that would help improve program support and coalition-building against inequality in Lorain County.

“Our board has embraced the work of diversity inclusion and equity across the very disparate 34 different geographies and municipalities that make up Lorain County,” Andrews said.

The Lorain County Fair Board declined ideastream’s request for an interview. A spokesperson told ideastream the only vendor who sells the flag at the fair will not be attending this year, but the issue was not addressed at a Tuesday board meeting.

The Lorain County Fair runs from Aug. 23-30.

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