Online Petition Seeks To Ban Confederate Flag At Medina County Fair
An online petition is calling for the Medina County Fair Board to ban the sale and display of the Confederate flag and related merchandise at the fair.
The petition is the result of recent protests against police brutality and a failed legislative attempt to ban the flag across all county and local fairs, according to organizer and Medina County resident Leah Nichols.
“Somebody needed to take the lead on it, and I figured it would be a small step toward a more accepting community,” Nichols said.
Nichols attended multiple protests in recent weeks, she said, and the personal stories she heard at those events inspired her to act before the Medina County Fair, which is set for Aug. 3-9.
“It really sparked some inspiration in me when they talked about how everybody needs to come together to unite for some kind of change,” Nichols said.
The Confederate flag is divisive, Nichols said, and unwelcoming for many.
“I don’t think it’s fair for them to see such a sign of hate and oppression and constantly be reminded of it as they’re trying to enjoy the fair,” Nichols said.
In the Ohio House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee last week, State Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) proposed a ban on Confederate memorabilia at all Ohio county fairs, but the move was swiftly rejected by committee Republicans.
Opponents argued targeting one flag specifically would violate First Amendment rights. Brent said the legislation would bring county and local fairs up to the same standards as the Ohio State Fair, which already has a ban on Confederate memorabilia. Brent also said the flag makes people of color feel unwelcome.
Without the statewide measure, decisions on the flag are currently up to local officials.
In Medina County, the response to the petition has varied, Nichols said, with some opposition but a mostly positive response to the petition. It currently has more than 3,500 signatures.
“It’s been really inspiring, all of the stories and the community members who have reached out,” Nichols said.
The fair board has not yet responded to the petition, and did not respond to ideastream’s request for comment for this story.