2019 The Year of the Farmers’ Market Controversy

This fall, the Purple Shirt Brigade handed out postcards at the Farmers’ Market for people to write about how white supremacy in the market makes them feel. The cards would be sent to Mayor John Hamilton. This card was signed by ‘Peter E Diezel.’ In April, the Chicago Sun-Times website reported an Indiana man identified as Peter Diezel was associated with Identity Evropa and posted tweets defending Adolf Hitler. | Courtesy photo

Looking back, the antiracist and antifascist activists who have worked to air this issue have been stunningly successful. Besides the City of Bloomington, other entities have held multiple community forums to wrestle with it. Countless exchanges among area residents have taken place online and offline, in the open and behind closed doors. Local media — Indiana Public Media, Indiana Daily Student, WFHB, The Bloomingtonian, B Square Beacon, The Herald-Times — have followed this upheaval. It has even appeared on the national radar, ranging from the progressive left (The Nation) to the extreme right (National Vanguard) to the middle-of-the-road (Newsweek) — including the front page of the New York Times, arguably the most influential mainstream U.S. newspaper.

Scattered across the conversations and coverage are the experiences of people of color. What would it mean to place their perspectives at the center of our reflection and think outward from there? To acknowledge them seriously and meaningfully? Might we come away with a fresh understanding of the stakes involved that could prove useful for moving the city past this deadlock?

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