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Notre-Dame fire sparks spike in support of black churches

BLAZE: Firefighters assess the damage to the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, following a fire which destroyed much of the building on Monday evening

THE DONATION pledges that have poured in following the Notre-Dame cathedral fire have prompted a spike in donations to three black churches targeted by an arsonist in the US.

The black churches, St Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, each located in Louisiana were burned down between March 26 and April 4.

Fundraising pages had been set up to raise the funds required to rebuild but as the world expressed sadness over the Notre-Dame cathedral tragedy and billionaires pledged millions in donations in response, one Louisiana resident to the opportunity to remind people of a tragedy in her own state.

Megan Romer expressed her heartbreak over the Notre-Dame cathedral blaze but also encouraged people considering donating to support the three Baptist churches, which did not have recourse to as many funds as the Catholic Church.

“My heart is broken over the loss of Notre Dame. The Catholic Church is also one of the world’s wealthiest entities.

“If you are going to donate money to rebuild a church this week, I implore you to make it the black churches in St. Landry Parish,” Romer tweeted.

At the time she issued her plea, the fundraising page, which had a $1.8 million target, had raised fewer than $100,000.

Former US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, also urged those who could donate to support the communities in need closer to home.

She tweeted: “As we hold Paris in our thoughts today, let’s also send some love to our neighbors [sic] in Louisiana. Three historically black churches have burned in recent weeks, charring buildings and scattering communities.”

As a result of the renewed awareness raised over the plight of the three historically black churches, and the message being shared by high profile figures, the churches exceeded their fundraising target in just three days, with more than 34,000 people donating to the cause.

After the fundraising goal was reached, Romer tweeted her thanks to those who had supported the campaign.

“And now the churches in St. Landry Parish will be able to not only rebuild, but become even more powerful in their ability to witness and be a gathering and worshiping place for their community. Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said.

A 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged with deliberately starting the fires.

Holden Matthews, the son of a Louisiana police officer, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of simple arson of a religious building.

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