Kal Penn uses racist's hate to raise $500,000 for Syrian refugees

'We are better than the hateful people who tell us we don't belong in our own country'

Roisin O'Connor@Roisin_OConnor
Monday 30 January 2017 08:45
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Kal Penn's fundraiser to refugees has raised more than $500,000
Kal Penn's fundraiser to refugees has raised more than $500,000

Kal Penn has surpassed his target of $250,000 for Syrian refugees, after beginning a fundraising page for Syrian refugees, and raised over half a million dollars instead.

The actor, who starred in Harold and Kumar and was later appointed as a public engagement advisor to Barack Obama, started the campaign after tweeting a picture of a vile comment that had been posted on his Instagram account.

Penn, who was born to Indian parents in New Jersey, shared the image with the fundraising page link which he created under the name: "Donating to Syrian refugees in the name of the dude who said I don't belong in America.

"We are better than the hateful people who tell us we don't belong in our own country, that American can't be a beacon of freedom and hope for refugees from around the world," he wrote on the page.

"We will turn their bigotry, along with the President's, into love."

What began as a simple statement against racism quickly went viral on social media, and people began to donate - both in their own names and on behalf of Steven Bannon, Melania Trump, Kellyanne Conway and the US President himself.

Donald Trump announces a ban on refugees and all visitors from Muslim-majority countries

30 minutes after the page was set up, $5,000 had already been raised, and he increased his goal to $50,000, and later to a target of $250,000 within 24 hours.

He posted a thank you on the page which read: "Beautiful people - You just raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for refugees in less than 24 hours!

"This is such a testament to how proud we are of our beautiful country and how fired up we are to #resist our new president's dangerous policies with solidarity and love. Thank you! The donor page remains open, so keep it up!"

Supporters have taken the message to heart. At the time of writing the fundraising page had received $503,815 in donations.

Penn posted more information about how to help refugees here.

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