ELDON, Mo. – A Missouri woman put up her own billboard to respond to a Confederate flag raised near a highway leading to the Lake of the Ozarks. The flag went up near Highway 54 in February 2021. It has a spotlight that shines on it at night.
Champions of the Confederate flag argue it’s a symbol of Southern culture, the historic flag of the South. Critics say it’s a racist symbol that represents a war to uphold slavery and, later, a battle to oppose civil rights advances.
Amanda Burrow started a GoFundMe page in May to raise the money to pay for a billboard that says, “Equality, bigger than hate.” Her goal was to raise nearly $3,850 to pay for the message to be posted near the flag.
The GoFundMe’s description states:
“As a society, we’ve evolved past owning our neighbors. I respect the history of our country and do not wish to live in a place where we can’t have differing opinions. The money spent locally in Eldon & Lake of the Ozarks by tourists benefits all local residents. I don’t want visitors to this area to leave with the impression that Eldon is stuck in a place of ignorance, hate, & racism. In spite of anyone’s best historical argument, the Confederate flag cannot be separated from what it represented during the Civil War, Slavery. This is not what this area is about; we wave at our neighbors, empty our pockets at cancer fundraisers & only raise taxes for schools & police officers. I’m proud of that. I also want anyone who doesn’t look like me to feel welcome here. Love, not Hate.GoFundMe Campaign
The fundraiser has surpassed the goal by a lot. It went viral on Friday, receiving national attention. Now, over 1,000 donors have now contributed $37,555 to the billboard project.
The Associated Press reports that the billboard company required Burrow to include her name on the billboard. She said she hasn’t received any negative feedback. The flag is on private property, according to KMIZ, so no one can make the owner take it down.
Burrow posted this response to the campaign’s followers:
“The response to this billboard message has been overwhelming & positive. I am reading every comment & my heart is full. This has exceeded every expectation I set when this was started. With this support, we can continue to exercise our right to free speech for the foreseeable future. Equality is bigger than hate.”