A local small business is being targeted by left-wing activists after the owner spoke out against critical race theory at a school board meeting.
Lareen Narva, owner of Bittersweet Bakery in Eagan, spoke at a June 28 District 196 School Board meeting to share her concerns about critical race theory and Black Lives Matter rhetoric being pushed in public schools.
“Our schools are supposed to help children get ready for their futures by teaching them the basics — reading, writing, and arithmetic — but instead CRT is teaching them to hate their country, all in the name of social justice,” Narva said at the meeting.
Narva said she spoke at the school board meeting to “fight for the education and well-being” of students in the district.
A petition started in support of Narva claims that her products have now been dropped from Valley Natural Foods after 17 years. Alpha News reached out to Narva for confirmation but did not receive a response.
The bakery was created in 2004 by Narva, and it specializes in quality gluten-free and dairy-free baked goods.
Another petition, started by Bill Whalen, began circulating just days after the meeting, calling on more than 30 retailers to drop Narva’s products. The petition urges businesses that currently carry her products “to reject bigotry, racism, and social injustice” by “no longer purchasing and directly supporting the racism that Bittersweet Bakery stands for.”
“People of this country should be able to live and thrive without persecution or oppression,” the petition states. “Whether you’re Christian or not, we must be intolerant of racial views that divide our society even further.”
Some comments from petition signers describe Narva as an “extremist” and say that “support[ing] this company is to support racism.” Some even called Narva’s speech “unhinged” and deemed her “an awful excuse of a human being.”
Narva’s remarks touched on the viral speech given by Brad Taylor at the previous District 196 School Board meeting. The school board has since changed its public comment rules by limiting the number of speakers to 10 at board meetings and adding a monthly, hour-long listening session outside of the regular meeting.
“The most important responsibility is to work with our community,” Narva said in response to the board restricting public comment.
Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.