‘I’m so speechless. Thank you for continuing to share our stories on social media’
Kal Penn has thanked fans for raising over $800,000 for Syrian refugees, after beginning a fundraising page late last month. The Harold and Kumar actor – who was later appointed as a public engagement advisor to Barack Obama – started the campaign after Tweeting a picture of an abrasive comment from Instagram.
Penn, who was born to Indian parents in New Jersey, shared the image with the fundraising page link on the social media site, along with the message: “Donating to Syrian refugees in the name of the dude who said I don’t belong in America.
To the dude who said I don’t belong in America, I started a fundraising page for Syrian Refugees in your name. https://t.co/NOR5P48fBipic.twitter.com/jtJOsK9GrU
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) 28 January 2017
“We are better than the hateful people who tell us we don’t belong in our own country, that American can’t be a beacon of freedom and hope for refugees from around the world,” he wrote on the page. We will turn their bigotry, along with the President’s, into love.”
Penn, 39, is a US citizen, born to Gujarati immigrant parents in Montclair, New Jersey. The actor has starred in various TV shows and films such as “Harold & Kumar” and “House”.
After a weekend of nationwide protests following President Donald Trump’s immigration order indefinitely banning Syrian refugees and temporarily banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, Penn, a former White House staffer, expressed his dismay at the executive order on Instagram with a post stating: “Families are being torn apart. Shame on us. This is un-American. What Donald Trump and the Republican Party are doing is wholly unAmerican.”
The initial goal was set at $2,500. But funds are pouring in for the cause. In two days, at the last count, the campaign had raised $632,485 and showed no signs of slowing down.
Fans began donating money in their own name, but also on behalf of Steven Bannon, Melania Trump, Kellyanne Conway and – of course – Donald Trump.
In his fourth update on the fundraising page, Penn thanked fans for all their donations, writing: “I just want to keep it short and let you know that so far, you have raised a total of $813,533 and counting for Syrian Refugees through Internation Rescue Committee (‘in the name of the dude who said I don’t belong in America’, haha)!
His tweet read: “To the dude who said I don’t belong in America, I started a fund raising page for Syrian refugees in your name.”
Here is the link to Penn’s fundraising page: https://cdn.crowdrise.com/donating-to-syrian-refugees-in-the-name-of-the-dude-who-said-i-dont-belong-in-america/fundraiser/kalpenn