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Activists Raise Nearly $2 Million to Rebuild Burned Louisiana Churches

Fund will be split between three churches that were set fire during a 10-day period

Graves from a cemetery are seen behind the burnt ruins of the Greater Union Baptist Church, one of three that recently burned down in St. Landry Parish, are seen in Opelousas, La., . The first fire occurred March 26 at St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, and the second happened April 2 at Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas. On April 4, Mount Pleasant caught fireChurch Fires Louisiana, Opelousas, USA - 10 Apr 2019

Three church fires have devastated communities in Louisiana.

Gerald Herbert/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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.

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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