A GoFundMe has raised millions for the wall. Another will fund 'ladders' to get over it.

A GoFundMe has raised more than $12 million in four days to help pay for Trump's border wall. Yes, really.

As President Trump battles with the Senate to secure $5 billion towards the building of his wall, one citizen has taken matters into his own hands. Purple Heart veteran Brian Kolfage started a GoFundMe campaign calling on the 63 million people who voted for Trump to donate money to go toward building a The Wall.

"Like a majority of those American citizens who voted to elect President Donald J Trump," writes Kolfage, "we voted for him to Make America Great Again. President Trump’s main campaign promise was to BUILD THE WALL. And as he’s followed through on just about every promise so far, this wall project needs to be completed still."


"As a veteran who has given so much, 3 limbs, I feel deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today. Too many Americans have been murdered by illegal aliens and too many illegals are taking advantage of  the United States taxpayers with no means of ever contributing to our society."

Mmkay. So we're just going to ignore that most research indicates that undocumented immigration actually correlates to lower violent crime rates. And we're just going to gloss over the research showing that core industries in the U.S.—including the farming of the food we all eat—could not survive without undocumented workers. Who needs research when we have fear-mongering rhetoric to fuel our financial decisions?

With all due respect to Mr. Kolfage, and with sincere gratitude for his sacrificial service, the stated reasoning for funding this wall is bunk. (And so are the far right-wing conspiracy theory website businesses peddling racist, inflammatory garbage that he's started over the past couple of years. Thanks for the investigative journalism, NBC News.)

And yet, 200,000-and-counting Americans have happily thrown their hard-earned money at Kolfage's fundraiser. In a mere four days, the GoFundMe has raised more than $12 million toward the initial $1 billion goal.

It's amazing how motivating prejudice and fear are. No wonder wanna-be-despots shamelessly fan those flames in their followers.

In response, an alternate GoFundMe is raising money for "Ladders to Get Over Trump's Wall."

Another veteran, Charlotte Clymer, started a counter GoFundMe fundraiser, "Ladders to Get Over Trump's Wall," and it's fire and gold all at once.

"We saw some folks are raising money for a border wall to keep out our migrant siblings and fellow human beings, who are fleeing violence and persecution and whose tragically-underpaid labor is essential to the U.S. economy," states the page. "Seems like a bad idea on countless levels for everyone involved.  Maybe we should focus on human rights and creating a community that reflects our supposed values."

When the page was set up, the wall fund was still ramping up, with a rate of $1.7 million per day. "And even though at a rate of $1.7 million daily, it would take their fund about 35 years to raise the $21.7 billion that Trump's own Dept. of Homeland Security says would be needed  to build said wall," it reads, "we wanna make sure ladders are ready to send over to our undocumented friends and help them." *

And then perhaps the best line ever written: "If this seems ludicrous, we welcome you to the coalition of reasonable adults." Gracious, I miss the days when I believed reasonable adults were the vast majority.  

This fund won't actually pay for ladders—it will help with legal representation for those who need it.

All funds raised by the Ladders GoFundMe will go to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) , a Texas-based nonprofit that provides free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.

"You see," the site states, "they’ll never reach their goal, but no matter how much we raise, we’re going to reach ours: Supporting an organization working to help immigrants seeking legal asylum. This GoFundMe isn’t really about ladders at all. It’s about lifting people up."

So far, Clymer has raised $89,000 for RAICES, and the campaign is starting to gain steam on social media. The Hoarse Whisperer, who originally came up with the idea, shared what happens when people only read the name of the fundraiser and not the description. Prepare to smack your head:

Reasonable adults, please keep showing up when ridiculousness rears its ugly head. We need you now more than ever.

* Just for the record, at the larger rate of $3 million per day, it would still take 19 YEARS to get the full $21+ billion for the wall. Isn't math fun? For more on why the wall is a dumb idea all around, read this analysis from the Cato Institute.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."