September 13, 2021

Cambridge School Committee member releases statement following apology from Connors Farm

A member of the Cambridge School Committee and her husband say they are “humbled” and grateful for the support they have received after they came forward last week alleging they were racially profiled and accused of stealing during a visit to a Danvers orchard.

Manikka Bowman, who is vice-chair of the School Committee, and her husband, Jeff Myers, detailed the “traumatic experience” they had on their Labor Day trip to Connors Farm with their two young children, during which a police officer was called to the business.

The couple said after picking fruit in the orchard, they walked toward the farm store to buy apple cider doughnuts and pay for the extra apples they realized their young children had harvested that didn’t fit into the required bag. On their way to the store, Bowman and Myers said they were stopped by a security officer and then escorted inside the shop, where the couple said their belongings were searched and a police officer was called to the scene.Danvers officials said the facts laid out by the Cambridge family in their public letter were corroborated by a police report on the incident.

Both the business and Danvers town officials have since offered apologies to the family.

On Friday, Bowman said she and her husband are “humbled” by the support they have received in the wake of the incident.

“Our family is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from family, friends, and the public at large,” Bowman and Myers said in a statement. “Many people saw themselves in our story and we hope that this becomes a learning opportunity for all those involved. We appreciate the Town of Danvers officials and their swift response to us. We are confident they will do the necessary work to address cultural awareness and sensitivity when dealing with the public.”

Connors Farm said in a statement on Thursday posted to its Facebook page, which has since been deactivated, that the business regretted the incident.

“We have extended our personal apology to the family,” the business wrote. “We do our best to train our employees to handle all customer issues with courtesy and respect at all times. We are taking further steps to ensure that staff will undergo diversity, equity and inclusion training. Please know that everybody is welcome on our farm.”

By:  Dialynn Dwyer