A woman from Missouri decided to do something about a Confederate flag visible from an interstate highway; with help from donors, she put up a billboard with a stronger message.
A woman in the state of Missouri had the perfect response to a Confederate flag perched in a high visibility area on Highway 54, on the way to Lake of the Ozarks. Amanda Burrow of Tuscumbia, upset about the fact that visitors driving past her town may remember it solely by the flag waving way above the trees, decided to do something about it. Therefore, she purchased the billboard that stands right next to the flag and had it say a rather meaningful message: "Equality, bigger than hate." She started a GoFundMe page to crowdfund for an ad on the billboard for six months, and as of Saturday evening, she had collected enough donations, ABC 7 News reports.
"I did not think it was fair and even though it is everyone's right to express their opinion and free speech which I respect," the Good Samaritan said in an interview with the news outlet. "I do not want that flag to speak for me." The initial goal of the GoFundMe fundraiser was $3,850. This was intended to cover the costs of the art, vinyl, as well as the price of keeping the billboard up for six months. However, as of Saturday evening, the Burrows had raised far more than they ever imagined to achieve: $28,000!
The billboard was photographed and posted online on Friday last week. Since then, it has gone viral. In the 24 hours following Friday alone, the fundraiser had received 400 new donations. Donors from across the country had rallied behind Burrow's cause. For instance, she received donations from those residing outside of Missouri, in places such as California, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and even Guam. According to the description of the GoFundMe fundraiser, Burrows stated that she chose to put up a billboard because "voice and images matter."
Mary Ratliff, the president of the Columbia NAACP chapter, commended Burrows for standing up for what she believes in. She affirmed, "If I were to speak to her, I would tell her how courageous it was for her to do this thing, and how much it means to how much it can mean to the community for her to be standing up there and letting folks know that this is not the way that all the people in the area feel." Others, too, felt the same way. One donor wrote, "Thank you for your bravery, Amanda! Here is hoping the extra funds you have raised can keep this billboard up longer. As for me, I want to be on the right side of history, so I stand with you."
Another added, "My grandpa was from Tuscumbia. Thank you for showing the world we are not all like the person flying that flag! Love a fellow Missourian without hate in my heart." Unfortunately, the flag is currently placed on private property, and therefore, it cannot be taken down. Thankfully, do-gooders like Burrows and all the individuals who have donated towards her GoFundMe campaign ensure that such vile and public acts of hatred do not go unchecked.