MMA Follow-up re: Eastern States Exposition Access Policy
Throughout history dating back to the Greek fabulist Aesop, variations of “United we stand, divided we fall” have been uttered, including by Helen Keller who famously said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Last Friday, we became aware of a change to the Eastern States Exposition Center’s private policies prohibiting the wearing or selling of paraphernalia related to what they referred to as “gang-related” logos and patches. The choice of language in their communication was not only unfortunate, but highly offensive to the overwhelming majority of motorcyclists, and flew in the face of the camaraderie and great works that so many of our organizations do. Indeed, this form of profiling of motorcyclists in general is a classic example of the exaggerated fantasy thrust upon us by populist media bearing no resemblance to the daily lives of almost all of us.
While certainly there are some bad eggs among the clutch, that can be said of ANY group of people since recorded history began. The labeling of any group as a “gang” is an overzealous reaction without merit, foundation, or even evidence based on the history of the events at this venue).
But YOU rose to the occasion.In addition to the outcry on social media, your Massachusetts Motorcycle Association asked you to write and call the Eastern States Exposition to express your opinions –and you did!
In response, Eastern States Exposition wrote very clearly in a communication to Outdoor Sports Expo Group, organizer of the upcoming Springfield Motorcycle Show, that they “welcome all motorcycle enthusiasts to the events held on its grounds.” Period. End of sentence.
While they did qualify that they “strive to make <their> facility a safe and secure environment for all <their> guests,” they have removed any language excluding ANYONE regardless of affiliation or dress, and further added that they “hope to have the support ofallexhibitors” to host family-friendly shows and events on their property.
You can read more about their position here:
Make no mistake about it – while indeed the outcry of boycott on social media was noticed, it was YOUR calls and emails that made the difference. We stood together in the face of adversity and by voicing our position in a calm and enlightened manner, Eastern States Exposition reversed their policy.
We encourage ALL motorcyclists, regardless of affiliation to attend these shows, wearing whatever motorcyclist gear and affiliation they would normally wear.
Your Massachusetts Motorcycle Association reminds everyone that it was not the event organizer, nor the many vendors who had contracted and paid their fees who should suffer for the ill-advised and questionable actions of the venue. Further, while your MMA was ready to take further action including forfeiting those very same contracted fees on behalf of the greater community, we do firmly believe that cooler heads prevailed and that Eastern States Exposition can benefit from the continued positive experience and interactions of years of motorcyclists attending and enjoying the experiences at their facilities.
We thank you all and hope to see you at the upcoming shows.
Your Massachusetts Motorcycle Association