After reportedly being turned away from crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe, supporters of Kyle Rittenhouse are using the Christian platform Give Send Go to support the Illinois teen. As of Monday noon, almost $270,000 has been raised for Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who faces five felony charges for allegedly killing two protesters and wounding a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
The campaign for Rittenhouse, which has been trending on Give Send Go, is raising money for the teen’s legal bills. His attorney says Rittenhouse, a supporter of the police, acted in self-defense.
Give Send Go Defends Its Involvement
On Twitter, Give Send Go says it “hasn’t fallen into the censorship/cancel culture that we see today.” Heather Wilson, one of the site’s founders, tells Newsweek the platform is “committed to giving both sides of the political culture in our society an equal chance to let their voices be heard.”
Wilson says the support for Rittenhouse isn’t surprising. “We made the determination to allow this campaign, due to the fact we found enough conflicting information on what really took place,” says Wilson. “We will continue to allow the raising of funds for Kyle’s legal defense team from willing donors, despite death threats and thousands of hate messages.”
The fundraising post for Rittenhouse says he “defended himself from a brutal attack by multiple members of the far-leftist group ANTIFA—the experience was undoubtedly a brutal one, as he was forced to take two lives to defend his own. Now, Kyle is being unfairly charged with murder 1, by a DA who seems determined only to capitalize on the political angle of the situation. The situation was clearly self-defense. … Let’s give back to someone who bravely tried to defend his community.”
An update to that post thanks supporters for their generosity, saying they’re “the light of the world” in these “dark times.” It credits Rittenhouse with reinvigorating “the faith of many that this country and its founding principles are indeed founded upon the rock, not built upon the sand.” It also says of the teen: “His success is our success.”
Rittenhouse’s Role Is Under Debate
People who’ve donated to the campaign are praising Rittenhouse for his courage and convictions. “As Americans, we must stand for what is right and Godly,” one writes. “I’m sorry (for him) that he had to take lives, but it was to protect his own.” Another writes, “He did what the police should do—stop terrorists! Thank you Kyle. God bless you and your family.”
Other people, however, are questioning the teen’s actions, as well as the involvement of Give Send Go. “Thanks for supporting domestic terrorists in the name of [Christ]?” one person replied on the platform’s Twitter account.
Last week, Rittenhouse made the 20-mile journey from his Illinois home to Kenosha, saying he wanted to protect businesses and people during the unrest. He reportedly viewed himself as part of a militia, and an interview conducted prior to the shooting shows him holding a rifle and receiving words of thanks from police officers.