Activists Raise Nearly $2 Million to Rebuild Burned Louisiana Churches

EJ Dickson

Recently, there has been a string of devastating fires at historically black churches in Louisiana, with three churches burning within 10 days. And although the alleged culprit has been arrested — Holden Matthews, 21, the son of a sheriff’s deputy, is now facing arson and hate crime charges — the destruction of the churches has still irrevocably devastated the community.

In recent days, however, nearly $2 million has been raised to rebuild three historically black churches in St. Landry Parish in south Louisiana: St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. The money will be split between the three churches.

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Inspired by the fundraising efforts to rebuild Notre Dame cathedral in Paris —  which was devastated by fire earlier this week, a tragedy mourned across the world — donations started pouring in to a GoFundMe set up last week to rebuild the churches. The GoFundMe was spearheaded by the Seventh District Baptist Association, a nonprofit organization that is working with government officials to helm the rebuilding process. Thanks in part to writer-activist-Twitter-personality Yashar Ali, who signal-boosted the GoFundMe, the campaign went from $159,000 to its $1.8 million goal in less than 36 hours.

In an interview with CBS News, Pastor Freddie Jack, who helped spearhead the GoFundMe campaign, expressed gratitude for those who had donated to the church rebuilding efforts, emphasizing that the destruction of the churches “changed our dwelling, but it didn’t change our faith.”

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