Over $100,000 Raised For Black Man Who Donated Prison Wages To Gazans

Photo: GoFundMe

A GoFundMe campaign raised over $102,000 for a Black prisoner who donated his 13-cent-per-hour prison wages to civilians in Gaza. Filmmaker Justin Mashouf told The Washington Post the incredible story began when his incarcerated Muslim friend, who was identified as “Hamza” to protect his identity, wanted to donate money to Gaza relief efforts amid the gruesome Israel-Hamas War.

When Mashouf received Hamza’s pay stub, he was shocked all of his $17.71 janitorial wages were marked for charity. He then shared his friend’s willingness to help Gazans on social media.

“This donation is the sum of 136 hours of his labor in the prison working as a porter/janitor,” Mashouf wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “May his sincere donation be multiplied by the Creator.”

The social media post triggered an outpouring of support from internet denizens, who inquired about donating to Hamza. Mashouf said he originally collected donations on Venmo before creating a GoFundMe to help manage the “overwhelming” amount of money coming in for Hamza.

“He gave people hope by showing how selfless he is, and then they gave him hope through their kindness,” he said.

The fundraising page said Hamza, who’s going on parole this month, will be spending the money on health care, housing, clothing, food, job searches, and training once released. The soon-to-be-parolee said he’s going to send the money to people in need, Mashouf said.

Hamza was convicted of killing his uncle in 1986 after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as a teenager. He was sentenced to 15 years to life, spending more than four decades in a California prison. According to the GoFundMe page, the prisoner “accidentally fired a gun at a loved one.” State corrections records obtained by the Post show Hamza was denied parole over a dozen times between 1995 and 2023.

After the fundraiser reached the thousands, Mashouf said Hamza asked him to stop taking donations as he “didn’t want to distract people from those who were suffering more than him.”

In an update posted to the GoFundMe, Hamza says he’s looking forward to his new life and thanked generous donors. He’ll also be donating his March paycheck to Gaza civilians, too.

“I look forward to the promise of life, happiness, struggles and dreams, to soar and spread my wings, to be a man, a human being once again now that I know the preciousness and the incalculable value of Life,” he wrote.

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