Actor Kal Penn Raises Nearly $600,000 For Syrian Refugees
A follower told him he doesn’t “belong in this country”
On Saturday, actor Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Designated Survivor) received a hateful comment on his Instagram page. Instead of letting it get to him, he used it as an opportunity to inspire others to spread some love. Penn took a screenshot of a comment that read “you don’t belong in this country you fu**ing joke” and linked it to a crowdfunding page entitled “Donating to Syrian Refugees in the Name of the Dude Who Said I Don’t Belong in America.” The campaign began with an initial goal of $2500, but would grow to exceed Penn’s expectations in every way imaginable.
The same day Penn started the campaign, it earned a whopping $30,000, so he raised the goal to $50,000. “Let’s see if we can raise fifty grand overnight and continue to show the world that the American people care very much for everybody—especially refugees—contrary to what our current administration is trying to do in our names,” Penn said in a video on the crowdfunding site. “What a beautiful way to resist and show some love. Gosh, this is awesome!” In just three days, the campaign is nearing $600,000 in donations.
Penn’s fundraiser is a wonderful example of how many Americans want to help refugees in spite of President Trump's executive order to temporarily ban immigrants from Muslim countries. “We are better than the hateful people who tell us we don’t belong in our own country, that America can’t be a beacon of freedom and hope for refugees from around the world,” Penn wrote on the crowdfunding page. “We will turn their bigotry, along with the President’s, into love.”
Proceeds from Penn’s fundraiser will go to International Rescue Committee, an aid group that supports refugees.