Freedom Foundation determined not to let smear campaigns derail its intended mission

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 30, 2008

Dear editor,

On behalf of over 150 Freedom Foundation volunteers, Becky and I would like to thank all of the pastors, community leaders, radio listeners and citizens that have called and emailed this past week. Your words of love, encouragement and support have meant a great deal to us. We consistently hear the same message, “keep up the good work” and “when someone tries to do something positive in Selma, some people will come against it.” There are lots of good works happening throughout Selma, and we know others have experienced opposition when trying to create positive change.

We want to assure you that the volunteers of the Freedom Foundation are committed to continue doing the non-profit work we have been doing for the past 18 months. Our dedication will not change, and the fruit of the labor speaks for itself.

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Though there is a faction within the city that is trying to discourage and hinder the good work of the foundation through recent vicious personal attacks and smear campaigns on the radio, Internet, letters to the editor and organized “anti-Freedom Foundation” meetings, we remain focused on overcoming evil with good. Many of you tell us you can clearly see the true motives behind the smear campaign of the Freedom Foundation. Your words remind us that many people in this city desire change over this type of behavior that has kept the city divided.

Try as they may, the underground group cannot stop God’s movement in the hearts of many people. There are likeminded people in Selma that are working together to stand against these old tactics of lies, rumors and misinformation. People are tired of the hatred and divisive strategies that have plagued this city for so long. People are looking for something new – a new Selma.

Fear and intimidation are tactics that are often used to keep people silent and oppressed. I am thankful we live in a country that protects our freedom. No one should ever be oppressed for their religious or political views. If we cannot respect one another’s freedom of choice in these areas, then we will not be able to come together as a city. It is our hope that other citizens in this community will also have the courage to stand for what is right.

I’ve heard that the political season in Selma can be turbulent. I am praying that as a city, we can weather the political storms, lay aside personal agendas or biases and come together for the good of all citizens.

God bless Selma and God bless America.

Mark and Becky Duke