U. S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at the rally where she endorsed progressive candidates in upcoming election for city wide offices in City Hall Park. All City Council candidates who took the "Courage to Change" pledge received endorsement by AOC. She also endorsed Brad Lander for City Comptroller and Jumaane Williams for City Public Advocate. Leaders from Citizens Action, Working Families Party (WFP), Sunrise Movement, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), DSA, and other partners joined AOC at the rally. AOC made her top choice for Mayor: Maya Wiley. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images


WALSH: I Raised $100k To Fix AOC’s Abuela’s Home. The Money Was Rejected. Here’s What That Tells Us.


I would normally say it is unseemly to brag about one’s charitable endeavors, but there are important lessons to be learned in this case, so I will make an exception.

As you may have heard, last Friday I launched a fundraising campaign for Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s dear abuela. I was moved to take this generous step after AOC took to Twitter to post photos of her grandmother’s dilapidated home in Puerto Rico. She suggested that her abuela had been living in this ungodly squalor, with a collapsing ceiling and buckets all over the floor to catch the rain water, ever since Hurricane Maria hit the island four years ago. AOC also suggested that the horrid condition of abuela’s casa is Trump’s fault.  

I responded to helpfully remind the congresswoman that she is a wealthy and famous politician with a Tesla and two luxury apartments. Couldn’t she spare a few thousand dollars to patch abuela’s ceiling? She quickly retorted — “clapped back,” as the left-wing blogs put it — and claimed that her focus is not just on her grandmother but on the systemic injustices afflicting the people of Puerto Rico. Notably, she still did not promise that she would personally pay to fix her grandmother’s ceiling. I knew that I had to act.

The next day, I launched a GoFundMe campaign to repair and save abuela’s home. AOC may have been content to wait around for the government to fix the problem while her abuela suffered, but I was not. This was not something that I did just for personal accolades — it was only partially for personal accolades. It was also about saving a neglected grandmother’s ancestral home. To that end, we made stunning progress in a short amount of time. In the space of just over 10 hours, we raised more than $100,000. AOC apparently couldn’t scrounge up enough money for her abuela in four years. We delivered a six figure haul in less than a day.

But tragically, it was all for naught. Before the first day of fundraising was through, GoFundMe shutdown the campaign. A short time later, I received this email from the website’s “trust and safety team”:

Dear Matt, We are in touch with the beneficiary’s family and they have made clear they will not be accepting the funds raised. When a beneficiary doesn’t want to accept the funds that have been raised on their behalf, it is standard practice to turn off donations, then refund all donors. We recommend posting an update on the fundraiser to let your donors know they will be fully refunded within the next couple days. They will also receive an automatic message from GoFundMe informing them of their refund. They will get 100% of their donation back 3-7 business days after the refunds are issued. Please let us know if you have any questions.

In fact, I do have questions. What does it mean that the “beneficiary’s family” turned down the money? We weren’t raising money for the family, we were raising it for beloved abuela. Did abuela herself have any say in this? Since when can the family of a beneficiary shut down a fundraising campaign? And more importantly: why? 

We all saw the gut-wrenching pictures of her abuela’s home nearly falling apart. The place was a crumbling, unfurnished shack. We raised the money to not only fix her house but change her life, and we could have raised much more, enough to revitalize her whole neighborhood. The fact that “someone” in abuela’s family declined our generous gift seems to indicate one of two things: Either AOC would rather let her loved ones suffer than accept help from conservatives, or — and this is the really scandalous possibility — she misled the public about abuela’s living conditions. Were those pictures actually current photos of abuela’s home? Was it all a ruse? Perhaps we’ll never know.

One thing we do know is that tragedy and misfortune are often exploited in order to push for government action. We are made to believe that only the State can address these sorts of problems. AOC tied her grandmother’s suffering to “systemic injustice” and waited for a systemic fix, which could take years, or could never happen at all. We stepped in to fix a specific problem with specific action, and we succeeded easily and quickly. We came up with the solution and presented it on a silver platter. AOC — sorry, “someone in the beneficiary’s family” — rejected the solution. It is almost as though AOC does not want a solution at all because it is more politically beneficial to have the problem. There is a lesson here for those willing to learn it. Indeed, there are many lessons to be learned through this whole ordeal.

Yet there are some, even on the right, who are not satisfied. They still question what we did and why we did it. They ask: Was it all just a big troll? Was it a stunt? Was it charitable? Was it proving a point? Was it trying to solve a problem? Was it a real attempt to raise money for a cause? Was it mean? Was it nice? Was it petty? Was it generous? Was it sincere? Was it insincere? Was it hilarious? 

The answer, in short, is yes.


The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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