The Sharon K. Pacheco Foundation is a Colorado non-profit organization that supports military families and at-risk youth through “care packages, financial aid, grief support, and children’s camp,” according to their Facebook page. They appear to be a small operation with limited Web resources, but they’ve been around a while – a post on the Facebook wall from September announced their 9th annual toy drive to support the children of deployed service members. Last Friday, they announced a “Patriots & Warriors Gala” to be held at the Infinity Park Event Center in Glendale on May 2, with Sarah Palin as the keynote speaker.
Two days later, the SKP Foundation canceled the event, citing “safety concerns resulting from very personal attacks against Sarah Palin, our organization, and seemingly anyone affiliated with this event, simply because she was kind enough to be our keynote speaker.”
Explaining its decision in a press release, the Foundation said it was “not prepared for the intense and overwhelming personal attacks against our organization or individuals who have given tremendous personal time and made great sacrifices to help support our mission.”
No specific details of threats or harassment were provided, but the press release stated that “some have even gone so far as to attempt to berate our namesake, volunteers, and others in a very brutal and personal way, which has raised personal safety concerns for these individuals and their families,” and “some in the media have attempted to further the negative rhetoric by printing stories that appear to be ‘digging for dirt,’ and are purely biased reports attempting to damage our organization and/or individuals, such as Sarah Palin, without true understanding or knowledge – simply false assumptions.”
As far as I know, Palin has not yet commented on the cancellation, and there’s nothing about it on her Facebook page this morning.
Reporting on the cancellation announcement, the Denver Post describes the planned event as ”both as an awards banquet and a fundraiser, providing financial resources to military families in need and raising money for a grief camp for children who have lost loved ones in combat.” It’s a shame the needs of those families and children must be sacrificed on the altar of liberal hate.
I do volunteer work for a small local charity myself, and I know how difficult it would be to deal with threats and protests at a big annual event. They’re just not set up to deal with waves of hate spam, harassing phone messages, and petty vandalism. Unpaid volunteers may give generously of their time for a worthy cause, but many of them will balk at becoming targets of persecution, and small organizations can’t afford to lose a lot of volunteers. It’s not hard to imagine the kind of pressure that would lead the SKP Foundation to cancel the event, instead of jeopardizing their core mission to become free-speech martyrs.
I’m sure our President, so dedicated to purging the fumes of hatred from our political atmosphere, will soon issue a statement denouncing this sorry situation. Maybe Arianna Huffington could tap into the millions she just received from America Online to make a big donation to the Sharon K. Pacheco Foundation. That would send a strong signal to the more totalitarian elements among her website’s readership.