(ANTIMEDIA) Early today, the internet discovered the Honoring Philando Facebook fan page, created by a friend of Philando Castile — the black man and gun owner murdered in cold blood by a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop. Now, reports on actress and writer Issa Rae’s GoFundMe page dedicated to raising funds for the education of Alton Sterling’s children have also begun to spread. As of Thursday, Rae’s campaign had already raised over $433,000, passing the stated $200,000 goal.
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana “CD man” had five children, and while Rae has no formal ties to the Sterling family, she decided to take the step of creating the page herself, sharing the link with her nearly 90,000 Twitter followers in order to give an opportunity to those who “feel helpless, but want to play a small part in easing the burden of #AltonSterling’s family.”
Sterling was shot and killed by police officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II from Baton Rouge in front of Triple S Food Mart, the store where the 37-year-old black gun owner sold music and DVDs. According to the police, officers were called to the scene after a homeless man allegedly called 911 claiming to have been threatened by a man with a gun. According to a senior law enforcement official, “… the homeless man had repeatedly approached 37-year-old Alton Sterling asking for money.” But according to Triple S Food Mart’s owner, Abdullah Muflahi, Sterling was peaceful.
“They told him not to move,” the convenience store’s owner told reporters, but once Sterling “[asked] them what he did wrong,” Muflahi says officers pulled a stun gun on Sterling, later shooting him to death.
While Rae’s campaign was met with enthusiasm and praise from many, some commenters on the GoFundMe page questioned the writer’s intentions. One commenter named Fiona Davis said that while “This is wonderful for the kids,” she would like to know if “anyone [knows] of a way to donate directly to the mom to help with funeral expenses, living expenses, etc.”
Another commenter named Fred Damon Reynolds advised Rae to “look into opening a 529 College Savings plan” for the Sterling children. He claimed to be a Financial Advisor in Houston, Texas.
While these efforts are not going to undo the acts of reckless police officers, actions like these help us remember the importance of coming together in times of distress to help the families restructure.
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