FORT WORTH, Texas — As Pride month begins, a Fort Worth artist says she has been uninvited from a weekend artisans market based on her support of LGBTQ+ organizations. And the social media response to that decision has been fierce.
Carlie Alaniz sells homemade mugs, pots, candles and other art. Her company, Lucky Pot Co., makes appearances at local weekend markets, including The Roots Market which held its first event this past Mother's Day weekend at 1250 W. Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth.
But on Wednesday, May 31, Alaniz said she received the following message from The Roots Market:
"...we wanted to clarify some things with you! We first want to apologize for accepting your application and not doing our research before hand. Our business (the Market) has values just like any other business. Our values are biblically based, we do not have the same views as LGBTQ+. We apologize for accepting your application and not doing our research before hand, and we will be refunding you your vendor fee now! Thank you... we wish you the best."
Alaniz said she has already received a refund of the $50 vendor fee.
"My initial response was, I was more shocked at first," Alaniz told WFAA of what she admits was a decidedly "polite" rejection letter.
"After the shock wore off, I kind of got mad," she said.
But a competing market, the Wandering Roots Markets, where Alaniz has also sold her art before, heard about the situation and offered her a free spot at their market at the Tanger Outlets in Fort Worth this weekend.
In a written statement to WFAA, co-founder and event coordinator Shea Dardis said:
"Wandering Roots Markets was established in 2020 by two LBGTQIA+ allies and has hosted The Lucky Pot and many other members of the DFW queer community. Wandering Roots Markets are and always have been a safe and welcoming space for creatives of all race, religion and sexual orientation to market and sell their handcrafted goods."
On Thursday, in a Facebook post to counter social media chatter where some people have been confused over which market is which, Wandering Roots Markets posted "Y'all Means ALL at Wandering Roots Markets."
"They've taken it with grace basically," Alaniz said. "And hey, we're like two different things."
WFAA has not received a response to a request for comment from The Roots Market. Email and social media requests were not answered. But it's important to point out, and Alaniz said she recognizes this as well, that what a faith-based organization does and who they include and who they do not, is not necessarily illegal according to Supreme Court precedent.
But she does find it disappointing.
"You have the right to believe what you want to believe in," Alaniz said. "But on the other half of that, they have the right to know who you believe in and are supporting and giving money to."
"If they had told you, you probably wouldn't have applied in the first place?" WFAA reporter Kevin Reece asked.
"Right, yes sir," she replied.
Meanwhile, as the social media storm continues, Alaniz will be at the Wandering Roots Markets at Tanger Outlets in Fort Worth on Saturday, June 3.