The mayor of Bloomington, Indiana knows who is responsible for the race-related turmoil plaguing his town’s weekly farmer’s market and dividing his college community: Donald Trump, of course.
In a press conference last month announcing he would suspend the popular event for two weeks amid accusations one of the vendors is a white supremacist, Mayor John Hamilton said that the nation’s racially charged climate is to blame for his decision.
“A toxic stew of bigotry and hatred, of intolerance and divisiveness, is being brewed by many . . . including our own president,” he told reporters and residents assembled at the Bloomington City Council chambers on July 31. “I am furious that coming from our White House are messages of bigotry and racism.”
Hamilton, a Democrat, then rambled about Trump’s criticism both of “the squad” and of the city of Baltimore—”home to Frederick Douglass and Thurgood Marshall,” he noted—as proof of Trump’s racism. The mayor then went on to condemn his own town’s history, dramatically claiming that “today’s more progressive Bloomington has grown through our 200-year history in a soil laced by that toxin of racism.”
Hamilton also blamed Indiana’s gun laws for fomenting a dangerous environment, suggesting the state allows for “a huge amount of guns to be carried.”
Doxxing Sarah Dye
But the tension at the farmer’s market has nothing to do with Trump or gun control. Schooner Creek Farms, a longtime vendor that sells locally grown produce, is being targeted by left-wing activists—including members of Bloomington Antifa—after one group discovered that anonymous messages posted on a so-called white supremacy chat board had been written by Sarah Dye, one of the farm’s owners.
The messages were part of a trove of posts uncovered by Unicorn Riot, a far-left “alternative media” nonprofit, after the August 2017 Charlottesville rally. Dye’s comments were found on a chat platform associated with Identity Evropa; according to the Anti-Defamation League, IE is a white supremacy group.
After the posts were released, “dozens of IE members [were] doxxed and it was revealed that the group’s membership included a wide range of working professionals, including a medical doctor in Tennessee, a CPA in Ohio, a Virginia police officer, a Brooklyn electrician, a New Orleans contractor, a law student at the John Marshall Law School and several members of the U.S. armed forces,” bragged the ADL. (IE reorganized in March 2019 as the American Identity Movement.)
The Left isn’t just determined to destroy American institutions and fuel animus among Americans under the phony guise of anti-fascism or racial equality—they want to poison the small pleasures of American life.
One of the doxxed posters included Dye, a mother of three boys who also raises sheep and organic vegetables on the central Indiana farm she owns with her husband. By all appearances, Dye seems more like a Bernie Sanders voter than a scary white supremacist: She practices no-till methods on her farm, boasts that their “food is free of harmful GMO’s and synthetic chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers,” spins her own yarn and donates her time to a number of environmental causes.
Dye’s comments on the Discord message board were largely innocuous: She posted pictures of her farm and her newborn son while asking for advice on breastfeeding, homeschooling, and cryptocurrency. Dye occasionally mentioned politics, including arguments with her Democratic mother-in-law, and offered her admiration for IE. “Identity Evropa is the only organization of the dissident right in the US that actually treats women in a traditional euro-centric way,” she commented on November 1, 2018. She didn’t threaten violence or use any racial slurs.
In an interview with a local television station earlier this month, Dye denied being a white supremacist.
“As an identitarian and an American, I am disgusted at the level of lies, misinformation, falsehoods, and intimidation by those who do not know me or my family,” Dye told a local Fox News reporter on August 1. “We absolutely reject supremacy in all of its forms.” (American Greatness attempted to reach Dye by email and phone but was unsuccessful.)
Dye said she and her family have been harassed by Bloomington Antifa—or “Btown Antifa”—for months. According to the Hoosier Times, the harassment against Schooner Creek began nearly two years ago: “In the fall of 2017, three incidents were reported to the market staff that included people approaching the farm’s booth and harassing the vendor, prompting at least two calls to police.” In May, an activist approached Schooner Creek’s booth at the market wielding a baseball bat and asked the owners about their political beliefs.
In July, an Indiana University history professor was arrested for protesting in front of the farm’s booth. After she was handcuffed and escorted out of the event, left-wing protestors stalked the police, swearing at and surrounding the officers while yelling “shame, shame, shame.” (The scene was captured on video.) She was not charged. Vendors now are being harassed at their homes and Antifa activists are vandalizing public property.
Flyers and buttons distributed at the Bloomington market warn customers not to “buy veggies from Nazis.” Abby Ang, a resident and market vendor, is organizing a campaign to demand that city officials remove Schooner Creek Farms from the venue, claiming their participation violates federal discrimination laws since customers can purchase items with food stamps.
“As a person of color, and as an advocate for diversity and inclusiveness in all public venues like the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market, and as someone who supports the inclusiveness of the Market, I hope that the Farmer’s Market can make it clear that hate and intolerance has no place in our town,” Ang wrote. Her effort, ironically, is being supported by Black Lives Matter, UndocuHoosiers, the local March For Women chapter, and other left-wing groups.
In June, Dye was removed as president of the board of the Nashville, Indiana farmer’s market, an event she helped establish in 2017. The group is considering its options for banning Schooner Creek permanently. Bloomington officials, for now, are resisting calls to remove the farm from its market but will take steps, including the review of vendor contracts, that could result in their ouster next year.
Minimizing Antifa’s Role
In the meantime, Hamilton and Bloomington police are stoking fears about the pervasive threat of white supremacy while ignoring the legitimate menace—Antifa—that continues to intimidate vendors, market-goers, and residents.
When a resident asked the mayor why he’s downplaying the role of Antifa in stirring the controversy, Hamilton defiantly defended his position.
“The forces I believe are driving this toxin, this concern, this legacy are ones we have to be vigilant about,” Hamilton insisted. “Of course there are people who respond to different things in different ways . . . but I want to keep the focus on making sure this is an inclusive, welcoming community that makes clear ideologies of hate and bigotry are not welcomed here.”
Hamilton also claimed that after public safety officials alerted him to “threats of specific individuals with connections to past white supremacy nationalist violence,” the mayor decided to close the market for two weeks. When pressed for specifics at the public meeting, Bloomington Police Chief Michael Diekhoff refused to offer details. (A call to the Bloomington Police Department for clarification was not returned.)
An August 18 article in the New York Times also minimized Antifa’s central role in the controversy, reporting that Schooner Creek Farms had been targeted by “anti-fascist” protestors since 2016: “People would silently position themselves in front of Schooner Creek’s stand or aggressively ask the owners about fascism or hating Jews. Schooner Creek’s owners told the Bloomington police they were targets of intimidation by anti-fascist activists,” wrote Jack Healy.
When asked on Twitter why he refused to specify B-town Antifa, Healy replied that he used “anti-fascist instead of using the synonymous abbreviation.” Except that B-town Antifa is a specific group associated with a larger group that President Trump might declare a terrorist organization.
Sarah Dye did nothing illegal. She did nothing to threaten her community; she did not assault anyone or foment violence. She kept her political views out of the city’s farmer’s market. But because she posted comments under an anonymous name on a website that the Left has deemed a racist threat, she and her family are under siege, unlikely ever to restore their reputations or ultimately save their business.
The Left isn’t just determined to destroy American institutions and fuel animus among Americans under the phony guise of anti-fascism or racial equality—they want to poison the small pleasures of American life. Their rampage has no boundaries: Even a summertime tradition of fellowship and community in the Heartland isn’t immune to their hateful scourge. Calls for a war on “white supremacy,” even by many on the Right, will embolden their behavior and ruin more lives.
Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact [email protected].