LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- For the last several days, protesters in Lexington have incorporated Cheapside Park into their normal march routes.
Organizers encourage people to pay homage to their ancestors who were sold into slavery there.
The park was previously a slave auction block.
Now, it is home to the Lexington Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.
The staff and President of Board of Directors released the following statement on Instagram Saturday:
“The Lexington Farmers’ Market has not done enough.
The history of Kentucky agriculture is built upon the sweat and lives of enslaved and oppressed people-people with love, hope, and families. From hemp to tobacco to bourbon, the labor of enslaved humans set Kentucky upon a path that formed our state’s rich culture and agricultural economy. This labor also created a legacy from which many of our neighbors are now too often marginalized or completely excluded. Farming can often feel like it forces us to focus only on this year’s crops, and the necessity of giving heed to the heritage of white supremacy in Kentucky’s past is often overlooked. Because of this, we must keep repeating that Black Lives Matter.
Remembering and truly living with that past is difficult, even today. We haven’t done enough to recruit and empower black farmers to grow in Kentucky, or to support the many people of color laboring in our current agricultural system. We haven’t done enough to make our spaces affirming and welcoming to everyone. We haven’t done enough to speak out against the institutions and structures that continue to harm our neighbors of color at disproportionate rates. Because of this, we must keep repeating that Black Lives Matter.
For far too long, our cornucopia of plenty has been shared sparingly. For far too long, we have used a space without properly acknowledging its dark history. Pweople were sold as slaves, families were separated, and lives were destroyed in the Lexington Courthouse Square, the very location where our Saturday farmers’ market traditionally occurs, and this isn’t felt or acknowledged often enough by many of us who occuly that space every week. Enslaved peoples’ fates were sealed in the registers of the former courthouse. Farming is often a difficult task now, but it was brutal, cruel, and deadly to generations of enslaved black people. Because of this, we must keep repeating that Black Lives Matter.
We have not done enough to use our influence to remember or rectify these injustices in society at large, particularly in our areas of farming and food access. We have not done enough to educate ourselves. We want to and must listen more. We must do better. We cannot be silent, yet we recognize that we must work to ensure that our role is truly receptive and productive as we determine our place in this justice that must be sought and the changes that are unfolding across our city, state, and country. We will continue to question and to search for ways to support those in our community who know better than us, who have experience injustice in more profound ways than us, and whose voices can guide the Lexington Farmers’ Market to the action that is required to be a goof neighobr, a good business, and a good partner in the community. Because of these and so many other reasons, we must keep moving forward, and keep repeating that Black Lives Matter.
Josh England Ryan Burnette
Market Manager President”
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