While thousands of people marched the streets of Bloomington last Friday to speak out against police brutality in the Enough is Enough protest, the Broadening Inclusion Subcommittee of the Bloomington Farmers' Market posted a controversial statement on Facebook.
In that post several local activists noticed a line that bared racial undertones of Black-On-Black crime when the statement reads, "Our hearts break for every lost, angry, and aimless young black man and woman who commit violent crimes and claim the lives of other black men, black women, and black children."
Since that post, several of the subcommittee's members have resigned.
“This was just so flagrantly out there and bad that it was a very clear sign that the committee had failed and that it should be disbanded," No Space For Hate Bloomington founder Abby Ang says.
Ang says that portion of statement took away from the true meaning of the protests by trying to highlight the problem of Black-On-Black violence.
“For them to come out with this statement seems to kind of deny the realities of this white supremacist culture that we live in and how can we expect them to fulfill their duties," Ang says.
The City of Bloomington commented on the post saying it did not edit nor endorse the statement.
“It contained a lot of ideas and troupes that are widely considered to and in fact propagate racism and not mitigate racism. As a response our community very appropriately responded in an outcry and with outrage," City of Bloomington Communications Director Yael Ksander says.
Ksander says the Broadening Inclusion Subcommittee was formed last November to help deal with racial incidents that have occurred in the past at the Bloomington Farmers’ Market.
Last year, controversy erupted after news surfaced that vendor Sarah Dye from Schooner Creek Farm had ties to a white supremacist group.
“Of course the farmers’ market has issues just like many of the institutions across our community and across our nation that are steeped in and unfortunately build upon institutionalized racism," Ksander says. "There are many issues to grapple with there and across our institutions.”
Ksanders says the city’s Farmers’ Market Advisory Council, which oversees the subcommittee, will address the matter at its scheduled meeting Monday at 5:30 p.m. via zoom.
The original volunteer members of the subcommittee were: Juliana Crespo, Eduardo Izquierdo, Judy Klein, Gracia Valliant, Bruce McCallister, and Jason Michalek, Amanda Sheridan and Wil Stahly.
Of those nine volunteers, Sheridan and Stahly are the only two members that remain.
This story has been corrected to show not all members left the subcommittee after the controversial post. Gracia Valliant resigned back in December 2019.