NAPLES, Fla. — Opposing protests coming face to face at Seed to Table Market in Naples.
CEO Alfie Oakes, of Oakes Farms, is under fire after calling both COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement a hoax.
An All Lives Matter rally was scheduled in an effort to counter a Black Lives Matter rally.
“This movement is to create more divide between the police and the good law-abiding citizens, the rich and the poor, the black and the white, ” said Alfie Oakes.
Demonstrators in support of Oakes say they expressed their first amendment right, demanding law and order, and liberty for all.
The rally also raised money to support the Collier County Sheriffs Office.
Both rallies spurred after a Facebook post surfaced last week of owner Alfie Oakes undermining the current pandemic, and BLM.
“I been knowing Alfie forever, and a racist that’s one thing Alfie is not, ” said Larry Wilcoxson.
Amid the controversy, Lee County and Collier County Schools severed ties with the organization.
“Just because he is a business owner doesn’t mean you should persecute him for his beliefs,” said Joaquin Frausto.
One employee says he fully supports Oakes Farms, and has not faced discrimination.
“I know there is racism out there but, its what you do in life that gets you to where you have to be, ” said Terry Hallum.
But Black Lives Matter protesters told a different story, one employee says her minority coworkers face many challenges.
“They are brushed under the rug, they don’t get the recognition they deserve, they don’t get the pay they deserve and they don’t get treated like they deserve, ” Scout Rodgers.
Demonstrators encouraged people to spend their money elsewhere.
“I want my personal capital to go towards businesses that believe in what I believe in, and that’s equality for all people, ” said Lisa Domzalski.
Neo Cavero, of The Collier Freedom organization, urges the community to continue in the fight for equality.
“We have already seen little by little, we passed Breonna’s Law, we’ve upped the charges on the police officer that attacked George Floyd. People that are saying this is pointless are wrong, ” said Cavero.
They say there is power in numbers, demanding equality and justice for all.
“Hopefully if enough people can stand up for a change, they will be forced to make a change, ” said Scout Rodgers.