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Following a press release issued by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People demanding that the Alaska Day Committee of Sitka “retract and remove the scheduled Slavery auction on the calendar of events” for the Alaska Day festivities, that organization has decided to change the name of the October fundraiser.
The Sitka organizers were not aware of any controversy connected with the event, until the NAACP put out a press release prior to the auction, calling the event “both egregious and insensitive to the entire African-American community in the State of Alaska as a whole.” The NAACP press release slammed the Sitka Alaska Day Committee, saying that they, and the 2015 Festival Trustees saw “nothing immoral about supporting such an event. If they did they would find their continued obsession with slavery extremely misguided.” Following the release, the Alaska Dispatch posted an article publicizing the event and the NAACP’s outrage.
“It is particularly disturbing to see an event identified as a “Slave Auction” in light of our Country’s history of slavery in relation to African Americans” said Wanda Laws, President of the Anchorage NAACP.
The auction organizer for this last Sunday’s event has announced that the “Slavery Auction,” that has been held to raise money for such causes as breast cancer and firefighters for 31 years, will now be known as the “Alaska Day Auction.” In the auction, volunteers agree to be auctioned off for the year’s chosen cause, and will do such chores as mowing the yard or cleaning gutters, washing windows and other tasks for two hours. This year, the auction targeted Sitka’s volunteer fire department as the recipient of the auction’s proceeds, and 25 local volunteers were auctioned off. The event raised $3,000 for the volunteer firefighter’s training fund.
The auction at Sitka’s Pioneer Bar took the place of the Wet T-Shirt contest fundraiser that was discontinued for insurance reasons.