GoFundMe is an online platform where people can create fundraisers for all types of situations, ranging from simple projects like school events, to serious problems like school tuition. In the past, they normally appeared in relation to a viral event, but nowadays, they show up on every other post. The recent increase of GoFundMe pages on social media is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it caused many people to lose their jobs and ability to afford basic necessities. Black people in low-income areas were hit especially hard, which is why many of them are behind these posts.
In addition to GoFundMe, mobile payment apps like CashApp proved useful for those who require money on short notice. This is the case for participants of the Black Lives Matter protests starting in June of 2020, during which many sustained injuries that required expensive medical attention. Using the blueprint of community organized fundraising for gatherings and advocacy-related events, many took to crowdfunding as a way of raising money for hospital bills and bail funds.
Outside of the pandemic and protests, 2020 saw an unprecedented surge in discussion on diversity in the media. Debates about the entertainment industry led people to realize how the Black community—mainly dark-skinned, plus-size, and LGBTQ+ Black people—are still heavily underrepresented on our screens. There has also been an increase in discussion on healthcare and its bias against Black people. As a result, these sections of the community began to take advantage of these conversations in order to raise money for an array of causes like Black-owned businesses and transitional surgeries.
Many respond to GoFundMe pages with empathy while others share their complaints. Some people express irritation at the sight of a link and even go as far as to question its legitimacy. These responses occur frequently, but the most common response is oftentimes apathy, as many tend to scroll past GoFundMe posts to get to the more lighthearted content. Whether this comes from a true lack of concern or guilt from the inability to contribute, it should be known that the simple acknowledgement of these posts is more helpful than none at all. Likes, comments, and shares all help in gaining attention for important causes within our community, and while it might annoy some of your followers, it is better to focus on helping a life than spoiling a day out of someone else’s.