CoNEXTions 2015 Trade Show Cancels in Baltimore Amidst Violent Protests
As a result of violent protests in Baltimore that broke out following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody, the Door and Hardware Institute decided to cancel its CoNEXTions 2015 trade show, which was scheduled April 29-May 1 at the Baltimore Convention Center.
“The DHI Board of Governors has discussed this issue in great detail this evening, with the overriding concern of the safety of our attendees while at our event in Baltimore,” DHI officials said in a letter on the show’s Web site.
The letter continued, “With that primary concern in mind, they have unanimously decided to cancel CoNEXTions 2015 in Baltimore. There are significant financial ramifications of this decision that were discussed at length before this decision was made.”
The show was meant to bring 2,000 attendees to the city who would have utilized 2,500 room nights, according to Tom Noonan, Visit Baltimore president and CEO.
“Visit Baltimore and city officials have been working with the organization's leadership over the past several days to provide them with information and support as they discussed their options,” he added. “At the end of the day, they felt that the current situation left them no alternative.”
DHI officials said the impact of cancelling the event goes beyond just the organization, but also affects “our exhibitors, attendees, service providers, speakers and includes the local economy via the hotels, restaurants, and establishments, all the way to the clerks and wait staff.”
They added, “It is not a decision that is taken lightly, but we expect that you would agree that the safety and security of our members and attendees is our highest priority.”
Visit Baltimore also said the American Heart Association canceled its in-hotel meeting that was scheduled to be held in Baltimore this week.
The AFCEA Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium, coming May 5-7 to the Baltimore CC, said on its Web site that they still are planning on holding the event.
They added, "This morning, we spoke with representatives from the convention center and the city of Baltimore and thoroughly examined present and potential security actions. There are no reported disruptions to ongoing events at the center or surrounding hotels. However, the situation has not completely stabilized and information is only now improving."
“We’re continuing to serve as a resource for other groups that are planning meetings in the city over the next 30-60 days,” Noonan said.
There currently is a curfew enacted in Baltimore, and the National Guard also was called in.