After Black Church Was Fire-Bombed and ‘Vote Trump’ Written on Wall, Community Rallies Together
This election season has had many memorable moments, but arguably has also shown the ugliest side of politics not seen for decades.
This past Tuesday, a church in Mississippi was lit on fire and vandalized with the words “Vote Trump.” Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, a predominantly black church, was found “heavily engulfed in flames” according to firefighters who arrived on the scene at 9 p.m. and encountered the message on the side of the building. No one was inside the church when the incident occurred.
But in the face of terror and tragedy, people have found time and time again a way to come together. This time, a GoFundMe account, created by Blair Reeves, a New York City-based product developer, has already raised $158,057, with an original goal of $10,000.
Reeves first announced the idea on twitter, with the thought that Republicans would set up the account:
After seeing the lack of response, Reeves decided to take matters into his own hands:
In a single day, the campaign’s original goal was raised and passed, as the post was shared and celebrated on twitter:
Someone has set up a fundraising page for that MS black church that was burned: https://t.co/Fp7jSFFT8g
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 2, 2016
— R.L. Nave (@rlnave) November 2, 2016
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) November 2, 2016
Reeves made it clear that all these funds would go toward the church by providing a statement on the campaign site:
Although the evidence may very well demonize supporters of the Republican presidential candidate, until the criminal investigation ends, Reeves’ claim that this was done by Trump supporters is purely speculation at this point. Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons provided, “We have contacted local, state, and federal authorities of this hateful and cowardly act,” at a press conference held Wednesday.
Greenville Police Chief Freddie Cannon called the incident “a form of voting intimidation,” local news outlet WDAM 7 reported. The fear that comes with something like this is due to escalation, that as it gets closer to Election Day, more “voting intimidation” may occur.
NAACP Legal Defense Fund attorney Deuel Ross, whose organization will preside over elections in Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and South Carolina, stated, “The idea that people would be standing outside the polls with guns, or even inside the polls with guns, clearly has the potential to turn people away. There’s a long history of this. These are places with a history of voter intimidation and also very liberal gun laws.”
Let’s hope nothing else of this magnitude occurs. Instead, let’s applaud the solidarity and willingness to assist that people of this country have showed in the wake of this horrible incident.