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Symbols have their place

To the editor:

Symbols of white supremacy and slavery have no place in the center ring of the Houghton County Fair.

The Confederate flag prominently displayed in the main outdoor arena of the 2019 Houghton County Fair during the demolition derby prompted me to ask the Houghton County Fair Association, as well as a business whose own corporate flag was inadvertently displayed in tandem with the Confederate flag, to take steps to ensure that our fair is welcoming to all, as it has been in the past and should be in the future.

Free speech advocates (including me) have other venues within the context of the fair to express their allegiances.

Even for those who contend that the Confederate flag is a historical expression of a proud heritage, the question still remains: is it appropriate to co-opt our Copper Country heritage, and our nation’s heritage, by allowing the symbol of a once-divided nation to be a focal point at one of our community’s most well-attended social gatherings?

I’m disappointed that I have to raise the issue. I would rather have enjoyed the exhibits and competition, my blooming onion, and my friends and neighbors without having to consider hate, bloodshed and systemic racism. But once I saw the Confederate flag, I couldn’t unsee it. And could not remain silent. A former 4-Her who loves the fair, I want to see it remain fun, family friendly and community-minded. I hope the fair association and event/individual sponsors will consider adding or amending guidelines to make it so–and that others will take the time to express their opinions to fair officials about the kind of community we want to be and how we show who we are.

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