As children and families passed the bubble blowers, hermit crabs and miscellaneous toy stands in Sunset Mall, they also grazed their eyes upon a toy train stand featuring the display of a lynching. Protestors gathered outside the mall in Galleria, Las Vegas to express their disgust with the display, according to WHIO TV 7.
The Las Vegas Garden Railway Society had been responsible for the train display. It featured two trains rolling on tracks around various scenes, one of which was three white people preparing to hang a Black man. Residents along with the National Action Network of Las Vegas expressed their anger with the scene with a protest outside the mall.
“-community members are outraged that a racist train display showing a Black man being prepared to be hung was tolerated and allowed at the mall for hundreds of children, families & community members to see,” said NAN Las Vegas in a statement, KLAS reported.
More on the incident from WHIO TV 7:
The president of the Las Vegas Garden Railway Society, Sue Jerrems, apologized for the display, saying they never meant to offend anybody.
“We never looked at it as a Black man before,” Jerrems told the Las Vegas Sun. “It was just part of a frontier scene. It had no racist implications. Once someone pointed out the implications of it, we took it down. We apologized.”
“I’m saddened that we are here again protesting things that we thought were over with — a lynching display,” Bishop Bill McDonnell with the Wealthy Place Church told KSNV.
The National Action Network in Las Vegas has called for a public apology, and has asked for the railway society to get cultural sensitivity training, KLAS reported. Jerrems told KSNV that she felt the diversity training would not be necessary, and told the station that its members “didn’t mean any harm.”
Well if Jerrems never saw the figure as a Black man…what else would it be?
Anyways, the owner of the mall issued an apology saying they didn’t even know that bit was going to be included in the train display.
“We want to apologize to everyone who was offended by this, and everyone should be offended. … We are horrified and truly apologize,” said Linsday Kahn, director of public relations for Brookfield Properties, via the Las Vegas Sun. Kahn also said they will not be working with Las Vegas Garden Railway Society in the future.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak also responded to the incident condemning the display as racist. “Racism has no home here in Nevada. This is completely unacceptable and our community deserves answers,” he tweeted.
The display went up May 30 and was taken down July 5, reports say.