Confederate flag sticker causes concern at market

James David Dickson
The Detroit News
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After a Confederate flag bumper sticker was spotted Saturday at Eastern Market on what's believed to be a vendor's vehicle, the market is both investigating what happened and reiterating that all are welcome on its grounds.

The market attracts anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 visitors per weekend, who come out to buy the food, art, flowers and other goods its vendors sell. 

But on Saturday, a visitor to the market posted a picture on Facebook showing a vehicle on the grounds with a Confederate flag bumper sticker. The market has noticed, said Dan Carmody, president of the Eastern Market Corporation since 2007.

Vegetable stands display fresh produce at Eastern Market on Saturday April 30, 2016. 

(Max Ortiz / The Detroit News)2016


On Sunday, Eastern Market released a statement on the incident on its Facebook page.

The statement read, in part: "To prevent any further incidents of this kind we will be revising our vendor handbook to specifically prohibit offensive language and signs consistent with that in our Petitioning and Solicitation Policy. Those guidelines were revised when a protest group used a swastika in signage during a protest a few years ago."

Vendors will be notified of the policy change via email, and when the market reopens on Tuesday, the new policy will be in effect. 

The vehicle in question belongs to a vendor in Shed 4, Carmody said. The market believes one of two vendors might have been responsible for the signage, though it hasn't spoken to either as of Monday morning. 

Carmody said the market would demand the vendor cover or remove the flag before returning to the grounds. 

"We did not see it," Carmody said. "We saw the photos that were posted on Facebook and responded to that. It was somewhat obscured.

"It was obviously a vendor's truck," Carmody said. "It's a matter of free speech when it's a customer, but it's a matter of what our rules are in terms of vendors."

As for the vendor, Carmody said "we'll meet with them, and ask them to take the bumper sticker off, or cover it up, and find out what their perspective is. We haven't heard his side of the story yet."

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