Supporters Defend Huntington Country Store From Cancellation After Amherst Activists Stage Protest Over Use Of “China Virus” On Website


Vira Douangmany Cage, Ali Wicks-Lim, and Caroline Murray are activists from Amherst.

Wicks-Lim in particular is constantly seeking out the camera and the media, and likes to use her children as props to push her political agenda.

It’s why she wrote this blog last month about “raising activist kids.”

“Well mom, if Trump wins we will just have to have hundreds and hundreds of rallies. We will be so loud we won’t even hear his voice anymore.” My children were more prepared for that moment than most adults I know. They were already seasoned activists. My daughter understood that we might not get our way and that if we didn’t there was work to do. More importantly, she believed in the power of the people. My children have been raised in activism the way some children are raised in church. 

Last summer as part of an effort to shut down the largest for-profit child prison in the United States, they helped get presidential candidates to show up and draw attention to the issue. My daughter spoke truth to power, asking Senator Warren directly to go witness. “I’ve just come from Homestead and those children need you,” she said. “I think you should go.” Warren’s visit ultimately helped shut the facility down. My teenage son filmed and photographed what he witnessed on that trip. “Most people aren’t going to see this,” he said. “I want to use my photography to move people to act.” His documentary called Homes Instead was selected for the Boston International Youth Film Festival and later won a Peacemaker Award. 

Sometimes people ask whether activism spaces are ‘kid-friendly’ and I’m not sure how to answer. My kids often participate in actions in the offices of Senators and Representatives and in demonstrations at the Supreme Court and Capitol buildings in DC. Last year they attended a Ways and Means hearing. During the primaries they attended events for every democratic candidate and spoke with several, asking them to address things we care about. When I remarked that they are having an unusual childhood, my son responded, “Yeah, thanks for that.”

At age 5 my daughter marched the streets of NYC, chanting “Show me what Democracy looks like?” and the crowd shouted back “THIS is what democracy looks like!” 

  1. Your daughter never said that, because she’s 5
  2. Your daughter isn’t old enough to hate Donald Trump, that hatred is taught
  3. Any responsible parent would discourage a 5 year old from being so hyper partisan and allow to be a child
  4. Your five year old has no desire whatsoever to go to ways and means hearing in Washington because it’s incredibly boring, nor does any normal adult. You drag her along because it’s cute to hide behind a little kid.
  5. Just like you, Elizabeth Warren also doesn’t mind using kids to push her agenda.
  6. You are robbing your daughter of her childhood because you are a selfish, attention seeking narcissist.

Caroline Murray has quite the activist resume too.

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Not one of those is an actual job at an actual business that makes actual money by selling something people actually want. Those are all just various non-profits that run off tax dollars and grants, which is the only thing these people now how to do.

Last week Vira Douangmany Cage decided that she was outraged about a store in Huntington, which is a 50 minute drive through the backroads from Amherst. In other words, she has no reason to go there, and what’s happening in Huntington is none of her business. Huntingon and the surrounding towns of Chester, Blandford, Russel, and Montgomery are some of the most conservative in the state. All of them voted overwhelmingly for Trump. And just like the President the owners of the Huntington Country Store refer to COVID as the “China Virus.” This upset the Amherst activists very much so they demanded the store stop calling it that. They called up the owner who basically ignored them, and then they staged a protest.

They’re also really mad about the flags they see hanging at the store.

Uh muh God!! The thin blue line flag! Muh white supremacists!

According to Vira, people who support the police and reference the country of origin for a virus that shut down a $20 trillion economy and killed 180K people and counting, must be white terrorists.

The protest was scheduled for Sunday.

But the thing about attacking a small business in a Trump town that you’re not from is that the locals don’t really care for that sort of carpetbagging, and the protest didn’t go as planned.

It was “freedom of speech day” on Sunday at the Huntington Country Store and owners Randy and Becky Butler were offering a deal: one scoop of ice cream at half price. But when a group of protesters tried to go into the store to get ice cream and deliver a letter taking issue with the store’s use of the term “China coronavirus” on its website, four police officers stood between them and the door. Nearby, a woman in an American flag T-shirt shouted at them, saying they were not welcome.

No formal trespass orders had been served, said Aaren Hawley, an officer with the Huntington Police. But, he said, the store is private property and the store’s owners told the police department they would issue trespass notices to the protesters if they came inside the shop.

Say what you want about Trump, but at least I’m not on the side of men in combat boots and crop tees, and lunatics who hold signs saying, “make American brown again.” Whatever that means.

The white woman who uses her kids as props couldn’t believe the audacity of a store owner who was too busy running her store to call back an agitator who had no intention of shopping there.

Organizer Ali Wicks-Lim said she and others contacted the store and left messages, but never heard back from the owners. “They would not take our calls,” she said before the protest. “It just became clear they were unwilling to hear any of our concerns.”

The owners handled it perfectly too.

In a post titled “Rebutting the Gazette’s news article and defending Free Speech,” the store’s website says Randy and Becky Butler take issue with how the coronavirus was first handled by Chinese government. “It’s my way of saying NO to the China Communist Regime,” the statement concludes.“

The Red Chinese allowed the virus to spread across the world. They’re laughing at us while having pool parties in Wuhan. China is not our friend, they’re a dictatorship responsible for gross human rights violations, and are arguably the closest thing we have in 2020 to the Nazis. We should remind people every day who’s responsible for this virus instead of whining about hurt feelings. But of course the protesters are making up stories about “harm” and “racists attacks” to prove their point.

A lot is being said on their side about their First Amendment rights,” Wicks-Lim said. “My position is that just because you can something doesn’t mean you should say something that’s going to harm other people.”

The language is harmful, said “No hate in Huntington” organizers. “The rise of racist attacks, verbal and physical assaults on Asians and Asian Americans and the rise of racist rhetoric describing our current pandemic is not a coincidence,” Vira Douangmany Cage, one of the event’s organizers who also serves as chairwoman of the state’s Asian American Commission, said in a statement.

“As an Asian American, I know what it’s like to be attacked,” said Jeannette Wicks-Lim. She’s been called slurs and told to go back to China — though she’s actually Korean-American.

No one was ever told to go back to China because of the China virus. That literally never happened, as much as they want it to.

Good for these people for standing up and fighting back. You don’t have to take their bullying lying down anymore. You are not alone.


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