Larry McBride said he hopes to help the Columbia community through the Freedom Fiters

Larry McBride said he hopes to help the Columbia community through the Freedom Fiters, an organization that helps find resources and ease reentry into the community for former convicts. As one of the founding members of Freedom Fiters, Larry McBride, said he hopes the barbecue on Saturday was just the beginning for the Fiters to continue hosting events in the community.

Ansur Adams often worked with kids towards ending violence in his community, but three years ago, he began to refocus his efforts.

“We can’t just help the children, we have to help the parents, too,” Adams said.

To accomplish this, Adams teamed up with other community leaders to help men and women reenter society after spending time in prison. Adams said the struggles he saw firsthand during that work are what led him to create the Freedom Fiters, pronounced “fighters.” Ric Doubet, who helped Adams create the group, said the name is intentionally misspelled “because we are a different kind of fighters, (ones) with integrity.”

Freedom Fiters held its kickoff event, the first in a series of gatherings called Freedom Fest, with a barbecue in Douglass Park on Saturday.

Adams said the organization has two main goals.

“One (is to) help those people who need our help to re-enter into the mainstream,” Adams said. “And to tell the public that successful re-entry is a matter of public safety.”

Previously, the organization has focused its efforts on creating a support group for men and women recently released from prison. The support group also mentors individuals who remain imprisoned and provides them with re-entry resources and advice for when they are released.

Ansur Adams, one of the founders of the Freedom Fiters, enjoys the first Freedom Fiters event at Douglass Park

Ansur Adams, one of the founders of the Freedom Fiters, attends the first Freedom Fiters event at Douglass Park on Saturday. Adams said he hopes to help people who have been marginalized by the American justice system. "Even if you only get three to five years [in prison]," said Adams, "You end up with a life sentence."

Adams said this tactic is especially effective because the members of the support group act as role models.

“They are the example of what you could become,” Adams said.

Saturday’s Freedom Fest marked the organization’s first step towards broader engagement with the community. Doubet said their goal is to provide a space for the whole community to thrive.

Freedom Fest will be held in Douglass Park throughout the summer on the second and fourth Saturday of every month.

Supervising editor is Tom Coulter.

  • I am a general assignment reporter. I am studying investigative journalism at MU. Reach me at mmhtgb@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720.


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