— Mola Lenghi (@MolaReports) October 15, 2015
The Fairfax County Fraternal Order of Police have called for a boycott of Centreville’s Cox Farms after the business posted a sign in support of the #BlackLivesMovement.
Though the post calling for the boycott has since been removed from their Facebook page, it has continued to circulate on social media and can be read above.
The Cox Family, who reportedly has a history of supporting marginalized groups and equality for all, responded to the regarding to the controversy in a lengthy post, which reads in part:
Cox Farms hosts a Fall Festival every year at our farm in Centreville, VA. We spend all year eagerly preparing for these few weeks each fall, and we love opening our farm to celebrate the season with our community.
Recently, several individuals as well as the Fairfax County Fraternal Order of Police have called for a boycott of our farm, insisting that we are, in their words, anti-police supporters of a terrorist organization that advocates killing police officers. (While the FOP deleted their original Facebook post, you can read it here: https://twitter.com/MolaReports/status/654511007692365825/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw, and the full comments here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByARN1OT9G_2TWFsUi1IaGE3TDQ/view.) They have come to this conclusion because one of us (there are five owners of our business; the two founders and their three adult children) has a “Black Lives Matter” sign displayed in an upstairs window of their private residence. The home is on a separate property that is not owned by Cox Farms, but it is very visible to visitors entering the Fall Festival.
We have always believed that we had a very positive relationship with our local police department. We have contracted FCPD officers to provide security for our festival for over a decade. We have supported their fundraising efforts, donated to their Police Unity tour, employed their children, and offered discounts to officers on our Public Servants Weekends. Neither our family nor our business is anti-cop, and we are absolutely anti-violence, against anyone. For this reason, we were especially surprised that the FOP and so many local officers jumped on the call to boycott our business and make such hateful accusations against us via social media.
Black Lives Matter. As a family, we believe that Black lives matter, and we find it alarming that the statement incites such a backlash. Neither our sign nor the Black Lives Matter movement says that ONLY Black lives matter, or that Black lives matter more than anyone else, and the sign certainly doesn’t say anything about police officers. When you’re putting out a house fire, it doesn’t mean that you only care about that one house that’s burning; it just means you’re addressing the crisis at hand. Folks dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer aren’t saying that all other cancers are unimportant. Our family recognizes that all lives are important, and because we believe that, we know that Black lives matter.
Valuing Black lives and respecting the lives and work of police officers are not mutually exclusive. Knowing and respecting as many FCPD officers as we do, we’re confident that many on our local police force know and understand this too; after all, how can they serve and protect all members of our community if they do not believe that Black lives matter? We also know that the threatening comments on the original FOB Facebook post (those referencing throwing a brick through the window of our home, or the ones implying that perhaps the police might not respond to emergency calls for help) do not reflect the values and work ethic of the Fairfax County police officers we know and respect.
Read Cox Farms full statement here.