The hurt, tears and love have been flowing from around the world to Orlando. So has the money.
The crowdfunding campaign set up on GoFundMe has raised more than $3.3 million from almost 75,000 donors since it was created on Sunday. It has become the fastest growing and largest crowdfunding campaign in GoFundMe's history, according to the San Diego and Menlo Park, Calif.-headquartered company.
The comments of support and love have also been pouring in from all over the world.
“I'm donating because there are probably kids killed or hurt in this shooting who have no health insurance or have no family supporting them. My donation is given for my two gay sons who are lucky enough to have insurance, great jobs and supportive families.” -- Karen Pearsall Orange
“I am a victim of this horrific thank god I was discharged with minor injuries. Physically I'm ok but mentally and emotionally a wreck. Please pray for my friends.” -- Letti Amador
“My brother was one of the victims that lousy his life in this horrific tragedy..... He didn't have life insurance and we are trying to find a way to pay for his funeral service... Please if anyone will help my family out in any way with information or whatever they can donate... His name was Eddie Justice... thank you!” -- Lakitra Justice
“From France - We are standing with you Orlando ! We are shocked and we are sharing your pain. Our thoughts to the victim's family! No words can describe how painful this must be: we all are mourning with you ! We are sending you all the strength we can from Europe. With love love love, A french citizen.” -- Alan Consonne
“Thank you for doing this. I am beyond happy to contribute. I am very glad that there's a way that I can help my fallen friends, even from thousands of miles away.” -- Zachary Jaydon
“I'm really glad I found this page because I've been feeling so helpless about the shooting. I'm a broke college kid, so I couldn't donate more than $5. However, I still feel better after donating and sharing. Thank you for setting this up.” -- Moe Schlichter
“I am a native Floridian. I value all people, but am especially protective of my fellow Floridians. My heart is breaking for the victims, families, and friends. I will only speak of them, and not the person who did this. I love you Orlando, and Florida.” -- Elaine Cyr
The crowdfunding campaign is being organized by Equality Florida, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that serves the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Ida Vishkaee Eskamani, an Orlando resident and a development officer with Equality Florida, is listed as the crowdfunding campaign’s organizer.
In the early hours of Sunday, June 12, a gunman killed 49 people at the gay Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Fla., in the largest mass shooting in U.S. history and what President Barack Obama called “ a horrific massacre.”
“Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety,” says Equality Florida on its homepage.
Obama said, quite poignantly, that the violence perpetrated on the LGBTQ community was a violation of all of humanity. “This is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American -- regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation -- is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”
The crowdfunding campaign gives mourners a way to lend tangible compassion, even if they are half a world away. In the comment section of the campaign, there is some question as to the legitimacy of the campaign. Equality Florida has partnered with the National Center for Victims of Crime, the same organization that deployed funds raised in the wake of both the Chattanooga and Aurora shootings, according to the crowdfunding page. That partnership lends credibility to the crowdfunding campaign and give backers confidence that their dollars will go to the victims and their families.
GoFundMe itself has donated $100,000 to the campaign. With the donation, the platform is “essentially waiving their transaction fee and ensuring that every single penny donated will go towards supporting the victims and their families,” according to the crowdfunding campaign page. Typically, GoFundMe charges a 5 percent transaction fee on donations.
To be sure, money will not bring back the victims of the Orlando Pulse mass shooting, but it will help the families in these tragic times. Also, in a time when it’s hard to feel optimistic about humanity, it’s helpful to see that at the same time that there are deranged murderers, there are also thousands upon thousands of human beings who are empathetic, compassionate and loving.
Sheila Reiman, who recently contributed $50 to the campaign, says it well. “As inhumane as this act of violence was, it is with acts of humanity such as this fundraiser that we move forward with hope.”