Churches Destroyed In Alleged Hate Crime To Be Rebuilt After $1.8 Million Donated
The immediate and immense fundraising effort to finance the rebuilding of France's Notre Dame Cathedral has inspired an outpouring of support for three much smaller places of worship.
In less than 36 hours, donors managed to push a crowdfunding campaign for three historically black Louisiana churches ravaged by fire past its $1.8 million goal.
The St. Landry Parish churches were deliberately burned down in a suspected string of hate crimes in late March and early April this year.
On Tuesday, a GoFundMe page for their rebuilds, set up by the Seventh District Baptist Association, had raised under $100,000.
But after a massive international fundraising effort saw people reach deep into their pockets for the Notre Dame Cathedral, a wave of donations began to flood in for the Louisiana structures.
More than 33,000 people have now donated to the campaign since it was set up a week ago, surpassing $1,830,000 on Thursday afternoon (AEST).
The charitable spike was driven by journalists, activists, and politicians who took to social media in the wake of the Notre Dame disaster.
"As we hold Paris in our thoughts today, let's also send some love to our neighbours in Louisiana," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Twitter, sharing a link to the GoFundMe page.
A post from a leading figure of the movement, journalist Yashar Ali, has been shared more than 30,000 times.
"The rebuild of Notre Dame will be well funded," Ali said in the post.
After French President Emmanuel Macron made a call for donations to rebuild the Notre Dame, it took less than a day for almost $1 billion to be pledged.
The country's three richest families have promised some €800 ($1.2 billion AUD). US President Donald Trump has also pledged foreign aid while Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the tech giant would contribute to the restoration effort.
St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church -- places of worship for generations of African American families-- were all destroyed over a 10-day period.
Authorities have charged Holden Matthews, the 21-year-old son of a deputy sheriff, with hate crimes and arson related to the three fires.