Lake area woman spreads ‘hope and acceptance’ with poster campaign
Joyce L. Miller
Amanda Burrows doesn’t disagree with anyone’s right to free speech, in fact, she says it’s one of the rights that make America great. Nor is she on a crusade to remove what she believes is a symbol of racism and oppression, a large Confederate flag, which has been placed on private property overlooking Highway 54 near Eldon.
What she hopes to accomplish is send a stronger message of hope and acceptance. Burrows spearheaded an effort to raise funds for a billboard that sits next to the large flag, with a simple yet powerful message… Equality Greater Than Hate.
Burrows, who lives in Tuscumbia, said she was embarrassed by the flag’s presence since it was installed. She believes in respectful and responsible dialogue and this is how she approached her contempt for the racism that the flag represents to her.
The flag is visible to motorists traveling east and west on the busy highway which is the main route for many who come to visit Lake of the Ozarks.
The flag is hard to miss. At night, it is lit by a large searchlight, drawing attention to what some believe is a symbol of hatred and racism that sends the wrong message to the Lake of the Ozarks.
“I think it’s really important to have a bigger message than what the Confederate flag represents,” she said. “I was fed up with being there and the oppressive sight he sends. I knew before the flag that among the people I know what some thought about minorities. But I felt we had to send another message. It may not change the minds of those who support what the flag stands for, but it is a strong and clear message. “
Burrows said she respects the right to free speech and the history behind the Confederate flag, but has to personally find a powerful way to speak out – to counterbalance the vision the flag portrays of the community Lake.
“I think it’s important that we welcome everyone,” she said. This led her to rent a billboard next to where the flag had been installed. Now, as motorists pass, the attention to the flag is shared with the “Equality Greater Than Hate” message that Burrows chose for the sign.
Burrows praised the billboard and focused his attention on raising sufficient funds through a GoFundMe account. She started slowly, with the support of her family and a group of friends. Initially, she hoped to raise enough to maintain the sign for the next six months. His goal was $ 3,850. As of July 18, Burrows had surpassed $ 37,000 with more than 770 donors in the past few days. Donations came from all over the department and from as far away as Switzerland.
“It exceeded my wildest expectations,” Burrows said.
The flag was raised earlier this year. The location was first questioned due to its proximity to the highway. The Missouri Department of Transportation has confirmed that it is located on private property and not on a highway right-of-way.
Public opinion on the flag has been a mixture of those who support the right of landowners to publicly display their beliefs and freedom of speech, but condemn the flag’s message, and others who support it.
Burrows said the GoFundMe page will be closed at some point. In the meantime, she said there will be a discussion on the next step to continuing to promote the message of equality.
To view the page or make a donation, visit: https://ie.gofundme.com/f/equality-bigger-than-hate