An open letter to our Massachusetts Motorcycle Association members, sponsors, and supporters:
On Friday, January 3rd, your Massachusetts Motorcycle Association became aware of an issue posted to Social Media by the event organizer of the Springfield Motorcycle Show where the venue, the Eastern States Exposition issued a “No-Colors Policy”, essentially banning any attire with motorcycle club affiliation, wearing or vending, referring to it in their communication as “gang paraphernalia” without any qualification as to what that specifically entails.
Without clarification, for all we know, that includes your Massachusetts Motorcycle Association’s patches, logoed items, and Bike Raffle Tickets.
After discussing this briefly, both your Chairman and State Director reached out to the Outdoor Sports Expo Group, the organizer of the Springfield Motorcycle Show and the Springfield Sportsmen’s Show for further information and to make it clear that we do NOT support this action. Your MMA has had a long positive affiliation with OSEG and its management, and we believe they have our collective best interest in mind.
Very shortly following that communication, OSEG removed the “No-Colors” notification from their Social Media pages, but the damage was done – the photo began circulating widely, as things posted to Social Media often do. Doug Sousa, the head of OSEG, was also quoted in RideCT.com, posted here:
In that communication, and on the event’s social media pages, OSEG is asking for “solidarity” on his FB page in the face of an upswell of very negative sentiment towards OSEG, the Eastern States Exposition, and a call for an outright Boycott of the event.
Unfortunately it’s more complicated than the Social Media news is reporting and all the facts aren’t quite in yet. An all-out boycott in this case may or may not be the right choice. Indeed, there is a time for boycott, but there’s also a time for standing together in the face of the opposition.
Yes, your Massachusetts Motorcycle Association takes a VERY hard line on discrimination against riders and anti-motorcyclist profiling. In many cases, it’s rather simple; the venue hosts an event but posts “no colors” signs, or an organization plans an event that starts or ends at such a location.
In this case, however, the venue and the organizers have had a long-standing, uncompromised relationship with no such policies in place. Shows like this are organized many months in advance, and the policy in this case was created and communicated only a couple of weeks prior to the event. Contracts have been signed, fees paid, merchandise ordered, and staffing scheduled. It makes sense to attempt to clear the air before taking any critical action.
Indeed, the venue, which also recently posted a “no guns or knives” policy is also host to one of New England’s largest Guns and Knives show!
But it’s issues like this that DO require that we stand together. This is not the time for simple social-media chest pounding, especially by those who often post events and photos at known “No-Colors” venues around New England.
Positive and unified action is what’s required — call the venue (not the event organizer) and express your displeasure. Contact the Eastern States Exposition at:
We ask that if you do email, please cc your MMA c/o:BikerFriendly@massmotorcycle.org
Again, this is why your MMA works so closely on issues like this, including maintaining a“Biker Friendly” list, working with your State House on motorcyclist profiling legislationconcerningMotorcycle-only Checkpoints,motorcycle-exclusions, and working with the Motorcycle Riders Foundation in Washington DC onmotorcyclist profiling legislation at the federal level.
We will stay close to this, and we will share our final decisions and determinations with our membership and supporters. In the interim, however, we truly appreciate your weighing in with your thoughts – our membership’s opinions are very important to us.
Yours in FREEDOM,
Chairman, Massachusetts Motorcycle Association
Director, State Reps Program & MA Rep, Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Certified Motorcycle, Sidecar, and Trike Instructor