Note: we are republishing this story amid an ongoing nationwide conversation about race and racial justice in America.
Local residents and leaders have expressed outrage over a T-shirt being sold at the Saline County Agricultural Fair.
The shirt, which reads “Farm Lives Matter,” includes illustrations depicting black and white farm animals. However, the fair director stated that the shirts are no longer on sale.
Nancy Maxwell, the criminal justice chair of the Carbondale NAACP chapter, stated that the shirt was offensive to the Black Lives Matter movement.
"The adults in this situation approved a shirt that is insulting to another race," she said. "You can't compare something super serious to something that's not, or an animal to a human life."
However, the fair director stated that they were not looking to offend anyone, and that the intention was to try and set up a fair during a tough time.
Maxwell stated that while she understands the intent, there is no excuse.
"I just wished that they would've used different terminology to lighten up this 'tough time,'" she said.
Galatia resident Sherry Peyton stated that she was appalled when she first saw the t-shirt design. She spoke about her feelings on Facebook, but was personally attacked for it.
“I didn’t mean for my post to cause such a ruckus, but I felt compelled to speak up," she said. "I just want to be a good example for my grandchildren."
Harrisburg mayor John McPeek maintained that the city had nothing to do with the t-shirts and expressed that he didn’t condone the design.
"I think when they made the shirt they didn't think that it was going to cause such a controversy," McPeek said. "People that run the fair do an awesome job and I just think they just made a wrong decision on that shirt."
Maxwell stated that she hopes people can learn from the incident: "I wish people would consider what Black Lives Matter really stands for."