Alton Sterling’s family might never be able to fully overcome, or even comprehend, the manner of his death, but thanks to internet’s far-reaching powers, nearly 20,000 people have come forward to ensure that Sterling’s kids get the education they deserve, reports USA Today.
A 37-year-old African-American man hailing from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Sterling was fatally shot by two police officers outside a convenience store on Tuesday. Cellphone videos shot by bystanders showed that Alton Sterling never reached for his gun during the scuffle, adding to fears that the two Baton Rouge law enforcement officers involved in the killing had used inappropriate force to subdue Sterling.
The killing, coupled with the death of another black man, Philando Castile, in Minnesota a day later, triggered countrywide protests against the perceived racial prejudice that, critics and activists argue, plagues law enforcement agencies in many parts of the United States.
During a press conference on Wednesday, a day after Alton Sterling was fatally shot by the Baton Rouge police officers, his eldest child broke down in front of the cameras, while his wife, Quinyetta McMillon, spoke about the injustice her dead husband suffered in the hands of the officers.
“I want my dad,” said Sterling’s weeping 15-year-old son, even as his mother attempted to hold back her tears.
“The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depend upon their daddy on a daily basis. My son is not the youngest, he is the oldest of his siblings. He is 15 years old. He had to watch this as this was put all over the outlets.”
She also promised that she would not let Alton Sterling’s death go in vain, according to Pix11.
“I, for one, will not rest. And (I) will not allow y’all to sweep him in the dirt,” she said.
WATCH: Alton Sterling's son weeps as his mother calls for justice in Sterling's fatal shooting by Baton Rouge policehttps://t.co/yTgv3X5NBC— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) July 6, 2016
And although nothing would quite make up for the loss that Alton Sterling’s family is experiencing right now, one internet celebrity took it upon herself to help the grieving family get though the tragic period.
Writer Issa Rae, founder of the incredibly successful YouTube channel Awkward Black Girl, created a GoFundMe campaign in an attempt to help Alton Sterling’s family.
Can we got a scholarship fund going 4 #AltonSterling's son/kids? Some of us feel helpless when these things happen, but that's a small step.— Issa Rae (@IssaRae) July 6, 2016
The GoFundMe page set up by Rae reads the following.
“If you feel helpless, but want to play a small part in easing the burden of #AltonSterling’s family, consider donating to this scholarship fund for his 15-year-old son (and his other kids).”
While the initial goal of the page was to hit the $40,000 mark, Rae was astounded to find out that more than 11,000 people had raised $400,000 — ten times the original goal — in less than 24 hours after the GoFundMe page was set up. At the time of writing, the page has raised nearly $600,000 with almost 20,000 people having contributed towards the fund.
Another GoFundMe campaign to help the mourning family of Philando Castile, the 32-year-old African-American man whose death at the hands of a Minnesota police officer was streamed live on Facebook by his girlfriend, has also managed to complete its goal of raising $100,000 within a day of the page being created.
“We lost another precious life,” Xavier L Burgin, the creator of the campaign for Castile’s family, wrote on the page.
“They stopped #PhilandoCastile over a broken tail light, then shot him as he went for his license. He is now dead. Left behind are his family, his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and his daughter. “
While the money would be scarce compensation for the lives lost in the two tragedies within a day of each other, at least internet has proved once again that thousands of people are willing to rally behind the families of the victims.
Alton Sterling’s and Philando Castile’s families will take some comfort in that.
[Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images]