Complete Strangers Have Raised Over $100,000 For An Injured Charlottesville Counter-Protester

"We have numbers, power, and love on our side."

The country is reeling over news out of the "Unite the Right" rally of white nationalists that occurred Charlottesville, Va., this weekend. Many are mourning the death of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old counter-protester who was killed when a car plowed into a crowd on Saturday, injuring 19 others.

But that wasn't the only instance of violence in the city. A photograph and disturbing video of a young Black man being beaten with poles by a group of White men in a parking garage went viral over the weekend. The victim was soon identified as 20-year-old counter-protester Deandre Harris. In the time since, complete strangers have helped ensure Harris can pay for the medical expenses associated with his injuries.

According to The Root, Harris is an aspiring hip-hop artist who moved to Charlottesville to work as an instructional assistant in a local high school's special education program. As a result of his injuries, Harris told the site he received eight staples in his head, in addition to suffering a broken wrist and chipped tooth.

"Me and about five of my friends were out protesting," Harris explained of the incident. "We thought [the racists] left, but at one point they came back. Everyone was exchanging words with the group, but then the KKK and white supremacists just rushed us."

To help pay for his medical expenses, Harris created a GoFundMe page, with a goal of $50,000. (Warning that the page features a graphic photo of Harris' injuries.) In the page's description, he wrote of his experience on Saturday at Emancipation Park, where protesters objected to the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

"I was only there for a few minutes before I was hit with water bottles, maced with pepper spray, and had [derogatory] slurs hurled at me," Harris shared. This was before the parking garage attack, during which Harris says he was repeatedly knocked unconscious and suffered a concussion. "I'm so blessed to be alive to tell my story and to show the world that racism is very much still alive."

According to Bustle, Harris' GoFundMe raised more than $100,000 in less than 24 hours. That's more than double its goal, with 4,174 people donating for a final total of $106,534. (The page is no longer accepting donations.) As one Twitter user pointed out about the speed with which people contributed, "We have numbers, power, and love on our side."

A GoFundMe for Heather Heyer's family has also surpassed its goal, raising more than $200,000. Another campaign by Unity Cville is raising money for the injured victims of Saturday's crash. It has already raised more than $70,000 as of this writing, and is still accepting donations. The outpouring of love and support for those affected by this weekend's violence is a heartening answer to the hatred that was displayed by so many in the city.

As Harris wrote on his fundraiser page, "We will not let this fade & disappear. People are carrying real hate in their hearts for the Black Community and I refuse to just let it happen."


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.