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Meet Faatimah Knight, Muslim Woman At The Front Of Fundraising For Burned Black Churches

You won’t believe how far this 23-year-old masters’ student has come.

As news and updates continue to surface about the AME Church shooting, Dylann Roof’s indictment, and the arson targeting several black churches, one individual is hoping to bring a breath of relief.

Meet Faatimah Knight, the 23-year-old Muslim woman behind the project to restore the seven black churches that have burned down within the past month. Knight, who also studies theology, set up the project during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. Her original plan was to collect $500 for flowers to send to South Carolina in the aftermath of the Charleston church shooting that claimed nine lives at the hands of Roof. Knight and her friends overachieved the goal, ending up with $900, and didn’t stop there.

READ: Twitter Asks #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches In Response To The String of Churches Set On Fire

After hearing of the string of black churches that perished last month, the LaunchGood campaign generated in Knight’s mind. According to The Independent, she said that Islam’s teachings include protecting the weak and vulnerable. While she doesn’t feel that southern black Christian churches are weak, she empathizes with their vulnerability. Knight also said that many people of her Muslim community challenged her motives behind the project, questioning why she wouldn’t instead use her efforts to help Muslim causes. Still, the Chicago Theological Seminary student was met with support for the campaign.

“We have been overwhelmed by how generous people have been,” she told The Independent. “We will stop it today…We will figure out how to distribute the money.”

In the campaign, titled "Respond with Love," the description tells of the Muslim community's deep spiritual and racial connections to black churches and the aim behind the project.

READ: A Muslim Non Profit Launches Campaign To Help Rebuild Black Churches Set On Fire

“We must always keep in mind that the Muslim community and the black community are not different communities,” the description for the campaign reads. “We are profoundly integrated in many ways, in our overlapping identities and in our relationship to this great and complicated country. We are connected to Black churches through our extended families, our friends and teachers, and our intertwined histories and convergent present.”

Knight and her team have raised $76,000 with over 1600 supporters to date (July 13). She also works alongside several other organizations, such as the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative and the Arab American Association of New York and Ummah Wide.

According to the website, "Respond With Love" has four days left for the campaign and are still accepting donations.

Read the project’s details and donation info here.

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Here’s How New Orleans Is Being Affected By Coronavirus

New Orleans has twice as many COVID-19 cases per capita than any other county or parish in the country. This time last month, the Big Easy welcomed over a million visitors for Mardi Gras, which likely contributed to the diseases spreading rapidly around the city.

New Orleans registered its first case of COVID-19 on March 9. As of Friday (March 27), the city reported more than 20 additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 119. The death tole increased by 19% in one day, according to the Times-Picayune. That said, the number of those who have contracted the disease could vary due to a lack of testing in Louisiana, and around the country. The state reported 441 new cases as of Friday.

Male patients account for 43% of the COVID-19 cases in the state, while women make up 57%. The largest number of cases by age group are adults between the ages of 50-59. Orleans Parish, which is Louisiana’s third most populous parish behind East Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parish, reported 57 of the 87 coronavirus-related deaths.

At least 24% percent of New Orleans residents are living below the poverty line, and 1 in 5 households are without a vehicle, further limiting access to testing and treatment, USA Today reports. The poverty stats, compounded with lack of access to proper health care and those with underlying medical conditions, contribute to the spike in cases.

“New Orleans is preparing to mobilize in a way we hope we will never see again in our lifetimes,” New Orleans Homeland Security Director Collin Arnold said, per USA Today. “This disaster will define us for generations.”

The city is running out of hospital beds, and ventilators could be next on the list. Of the more the 773 reported patients hospitalized over COVID-19, 270 of them require ventilators. Louisiana has close to 2,800 ventilators statewide. While the city works to gain access to necessary medical supplies, others are stepping forward to help feed NOLA residents.

Earlier in the week, New Orleans Saints player Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, announced that they are donating $5 million to various charities including Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health, Jimmy Johns, and Waitr, to prepare and deliver over 10,000 meals per day throughout Louisiana.

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Brittany and I are committing $5,000,000 to the State of Louisiana in 2020. The priority now is helping our communities get through this tough time. After considerable research and conversations with local organizations, we will be mobilizing our partnerships with Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health Systems, Walk-Ons, Jimmy Johns, Smalls Sliders and Waitr to prepare and deliver over 10,000 meals per day throughout Louisiana for as long as it takes to children on meal programs, seniors, and families in need. Let’s all do our part, maintain hope, and get through this together.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on Mar 26, 2020 at 8:31am PDT

In neighboring Mississippi, there are 570 confirmed COVID-19 cases and eight deaths out of 3,139 tests administered. Mississippi also has more women battling the disease (59%) than men (41%).

According to the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago and other “hot spots” will have a worse week next week than they had this week.

In Milwaukee, the city’s Black community is being hit harder than any other group in the state. All of the eight deaths (five men and three women) in Milwaukee County were Black people, and seven of the eight were Milwaukee residents.

Philadelphia has at least 475 cases of the disease with over 2,200 confirmed cases statewide. On a positive note, more than 21,000 people  have tested negative for coronavirus in Pennsylvania.

With over 42,246 people testing positive for the disease, New York tops the list of coronavirus cases around the country and has been receiving the brunt of nationwide press around the pandemic, while states like Michigan, which falls fifth on the nationwide list, aren't generating the same amount of national headlines. The Midwestern state has been considered an epicenter  for the disease, and cities such as Detroit and Flint, where residents have been without clean water for years, are among the most vulnerable.

As of Thursday (March 28), the U.S. confirmed more cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world. Over 100,000 people tested positive for the disease and while hospitals are still in need of critical supplies and testing kits, there is one small glimmer of hope: the fatality rate in the U.S. remains at less than 10% (1607 confirmed deaths), and over 2,000 people in the country have been reported as recovered from COVID-19.

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White Woman Sparks Altercation On American Airlines Flight After Using N-Word

Things got physical on an American Airlines flight after a white  passenger used the n-word against a Black crew member and a fellow passenger last Sunday (March 15).

“You’re gonna’ sit here and call him a f**ckng ni**er while you’re sitting beside an African-American woman? You are f**king stupid,” the Black woman tells the white woman in video footage recorded by another passenger on the flight. The recording begins after the woman referred to a crew member as a “ni**er.”

“You need to be locked the f**k up!” The black passenger says before calling the white passenger a “dumb as** b**ch.” The two go back and forth before the white woman calls the black woman a “ni**er” and immediately catches hands.

The Black woman can be heard saying, “You done lost your motherf**king mind!” as flight attendants attempt to break up the altercation.

The viral video was posted on Facebook with the caption, “Footage from a horrific flight with American Airlines today…there was a lot that [led] up to the altercation…Just unbelievable but when you try to bark like a dog don’t be surprised when you get walked like one.”

Watch the video below.

American Airlines 2020. 🌎😕 pic.twitter.com/aCweOGhp7L

— Tice. (@_TheComeUp3) March 16, 2020

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Yo Gotti And Jay Z’s Team Roc Demand Coronavirus Testing For Inmates At Mississippi Prison

With coronavirus infecting thousands in the U.S. and tens of thousands across the globe, Mississippi inmates are among the most vulnerable populations at risk of contracting the disease, according to a new legal filing. A motion was filed on Monday (March 16) is demanding that Parchman prison inmates receive coronavirus testing.

The motion is apart of an ongoing lawsuit spearheaded by Yo Gotti and Jay Z’s Team Roc, surrounding inhumane conditions inside the facility. “Those inmates have been subjected to inhumane health and safety risks, and now have to deal with the uncertainty and potential devastation of the coronavirus too,” Gotti said in a statement. “It is imperative that the Mississippi Department of Corrections implement a plan within Parchman to provide medical resources necessary to protect inmates that might be exposed.”

In addition to immediate testing, the motion calls for a 14-day quarantine for new inmates, as well as quarantines for inmates who test positive for COVID-19, exhibit symptoms, or were exposed to the disease.

“In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Parchman inmates are helpless in the most literal sense of the world without Court intervention, the MDOC will default to the same feckless approach to crises that has become the norm at Parchman,” the motion states per CBS News. “If said adequate testing kits are unavailable or scarce, then the most concerning symptoms — fever and cough — should be tested.”

More than two dozen inmates have died in Mississippi prisons since last December, many of whom passed away at Parchman, where at least 2,200 prisoners are housed. The last reported death was 42-year-old Michael Robertson who was found unresponsive in his cell last Thursday (March 12). Robertson’s cause of death has yet to be determined pending an autopsy. There were no signs of foul play suspected, according to the MDOC.

In an effort to protect staff, inmates and the public from exposure to COVID-19, the MDOC has temporarily suspended visitation “at all facilities where inmates are housed,” with the exception of attornies and other “essential visitors.” The MDOC also suspended inmate transfers from county jails to MDOC facilities, and GlobalTell is offering inmates two free phone calls up to five minutes each per week.

Mississippi has confirmed at least 21 coronavirus cases as of Tuesday (March 17), with 389 individuals tested. There are currently no confirmed COVID-19 cases within the MDOC prisons.

“We are monitoring new developments and plans will be updated accordingly,” said Deputy Commissioner Jeworski Mallet. “Steps are being taken to protect staff, inmates, and the public from potential exposure to the coronavirus.”

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