LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio — This content is part of our 88 Counties in 88 Days coverage, which focuses on the current issues Ohioans are facing during the pandemic and in this election year.
In just about every community, there are symbols of pride, but there are also signs that highlight differences.
“In 2015 that [Confederate] flag was certainly questionable back then and each year it has even gotten more so," explains Elyria YWCA Executive Director, Jeanine Donaldson.”
For some, the Confederate flag represents heritage, or at the very least, Ryan Palmer who lives in Wellington believes, "the lesson the Confederate flag can teach is a more positive message than a negative one."
“You have to look at the heritage of African Americans too, you just can't say 'our southern heritage,' because there's two southern heritages,” explains Donaldson. “The ones that African Americans lived and continue to live is a heritage of injustice, segregation abuse, of terrorism and that flag has been that symbol since the Civil war."
Since 2016, Donaldson has led the Lorain County Fair Minded Coalition, which is an effort to push the fair board to ban the sale of the Confederate flag. While that has yet to happen, their protests have led to sponsorships pulled and she believes it's contributed to a decline in attendance.
“They have a duty to have a fair where everyone feels welcome,” she says.
The Lorain County fair board president declined an interview for this report.
In the past he's told 3News that Civil War memorabilia from both the Union and Confederate sides are sold at the fair.