Community Issues

Black Churches in Louisiana See Surge in Donations After Arsons

Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral helps inspire more than $1 million in donations for small congregations that were victims of alleged hate crimes.

Few cathedrals or churches on Earth are more recognizable than Notre Dame in Paris. So it was no surprise when hundreds of millions of dollars were pledged in donation after the iconic structure caught fire on Monday.

But now, many of the same donors are also pledging to rebuild three less recognizable churches that have recently burned--the three black churches in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. Federal investigators say the churches were torched in a spree of hate crimes.

A GoFundMe for the churches has already raised more than $1.2 million from nearly 23,000 donors, many explaining their reason for pledging .

You can click here to donate .

"Notre Dame will be made whole, so should these holy places," Philip Feldman wrote.

"These churches are historically important, maybe not on a world-wide scale, but to the families who have been parishioners for decades," Carissa Smith wrote on campaign's page.

The first fire was set on March 26, and the others followed within 10 days. Authorities quickly determined the cases to be connected, and a deliberate attack on black congregations.

A 21-year-old man has been arrested for the fires, and charged with three counts of arson of a religious building, and three charges of hate crimes.

WAFB in Baton Rouge says the GoFundMe got widespread exposure this week, from such figures as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CNN anchor Jake Tapper, and journalist Yasher Ali.

While authorities have not said what specifically motivated the suspect in this case, earlier this month FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress white nationalism and white supremacists presents a "persistent" and "pervasive" threat to the United States.

Image courtesy Ruth Jack on GoFundMe.

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