How Instagram star helped rescue dozens from Afghanistan | Your Cash

Dozens of desperate Afghans who wanted to flee the Taliban before the deadline for US withdrawal from Kabul expired on Tuesday came to safety with the help of an unexpected place: Instagram influencer Quentin Quarantino.

Quarantino is the alter ego of 25-year-old New York City-born Tommy Marcus, previously best known for his liberal memes and jokes about opponents of COVID-19 vaccinations. Along with his supporters, Quarantino raised $ 7 million through GoFundMe in a matter of days to launch rescue missions to Afghanistan to evacuate as many people as possible, many of whom said they were threatened by the Taliban.

On Wednesday, their Operation Flyaway mission helped transfer 51 people from Afghanistan to Uganda on a privately chartered plane funded by the GoFundMe campaign.

More than 121,000 people had donated to the campaign after Marcus appealed to his 832,000 supporters, making it one of the largest humanitarian fundraisers in GoFundMe history.

“It is more than humiliating that they have this confidence in me, that they are willing to put significant sums of money into the hands that I trust,” Marcus told The Associated Press.

Saraya International, a global development company, and the Rockefeller Foundation, both of which provided organizational support for the flight to Uganda, as well as another company involved in the evacuation, confirmed to the AP that the flight was different from that of Marcus. funded emergency collaboration was chartered ‘Go FundMe Campaign.

“I don’t know what word to use other than miracle because it restored faith in humanity,” said Marcus. “We have overcome the political divisions in this situation and have really come together from all walks of life to unite and save these people because … they do not deserve what their future holds if they stay in Afghanistan now.”

According to Marcus, women, children, humanists and others “who have long been fighting for the common good in Afghanistan” and their families were evacuated. The organizers had stated that they wanted to save 300 people who, along with their families, were “in imminent danger of being executed by the Taliban”.

The team had met skepticism from experts who questioned whether they could undertake such a mission at a time when governments, corporations and charities were taking their citizens and employees out of Afghanistan in all sorts of aircraft.

Marcus’ group said more than 350 people were rescued, with nearly 300 leaving Kabul on other charter flights reimbursed by Operation Flyaway for safe passage out of the country. A State Department spokesperson wrote in a statement emailed that the department values ​​”community-led efforts in support of the Afghan resettlement and relocation process that reflects the generosity of the American people and the international community.”

“However, we are unable to verify the authenticity or effectiveness of these efforts,” the statement said.

Officials from several non-profit groups describe a chaotic and dangerous scene at Kabul airport as they rushed to fill private charter flights with people who, in limited time, have the necessary papers to keep their planes on the tarmac.

“I am so proud of our exceptional team and what we have achieved in such a short amount of time,” said Scott Shadian, CEO of Sayara. “I just wish we could have done more. It breaks my heart how much more we could have achieved. We are grateful that despite the greatest adversity we have ever faced, we have managed as many people as we have.

At the request of the US government, Uganda received the evacuees, who will be staying in hotels in a city outside the state capital, Kampala. Uganda officials said the nation will host up to 2,000 people who are expected to be relocated after being temporarily in the country.

The charter flight, which left Kabul early Wednesday morning, is one of several private rescue operations organized individually and in cooperation by various groups to help Afghans escape. The flight from Kabul to Entebbe, Uganda, was organized by Sayara, who told a company working with Marcus that she knew of an airplane for Operation Flyaway.

Representatives from North Carolina-based Raven Advisory said they could pay for the mission with funds raised through Marcus’ GoFundMe campaign. The company, which claims to be subcontracted to the US military, said “an all-volunteer team made up of former Special Forces soldiers and other veterans with experience in Afghanistan” are working with the military to coordinate their rescue efforts.

Sayaras Shadian said he only met members of Operation Flyaway on Zoom earlier this week and, amid the chaos of the evacuations from Kabul, was thrilled that they agreed to finance the flight.

“You were one of the many miracles we have witnessed during this time,” said Shadian. “Your last minute funding, along with the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and other donors, was vital. Without the quick funding for Operation Flyaway, this flight would not have started. “

Raven Advisory CEO Sheffield Ford told the AP that in order to get people to the airport, the US government “has to be content with our organization saying that these people are fine and that they are actually doing things have done to help their country, to help ”. our country.”

Though Thursday’s fatal airport suicide attack hampered their efforts, Ford says those they help must have a passport, a relative his group can communicate with, and someone to vouch for them who has passed a background check . The goal, according to Ford, is to get Afghan citizens targeted by the Taliban out of the country.

“Our focus was on the people who wanted to make something great out of their country,” he said. “They thought they would stay there for the long term, with our support. There will be women in journalism and teachers. It could be the young and the elderly who have spoken out very openly against the various atrocities committed by the Taliban in the past. “

While crowdfunding is a welcome tool for raising funds in times of crisis, Patricia McIlreavy, president of the Washington-based Center for Disaster Philanthropy, emphasizes that donors should be careful when donating through these websites for private purposes.

“There will not necessarily be a public record of where this money went and how it was used, as a nonprofit – or a 501 (c) (3) – is required by law,” she said.

Although the rescue flights are now suspended with the outstanding deadline for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the GoFundMe campaign said it will donate the remaining money to the Washington-based International Women’s Media Foundation. According to the organizers, the foundation, which supports women journalists, wants to use the money to “work with experienced organizations and experts to support people as soon as they are on safe ground”.

Ford was impressed with how quickly GoFundMe raised millions for these missions.

“It’s about people coming together to help others,” he said. “And it was great to see that.”

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The Associated Press is supported by the Lilly Foundation for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Wolves in Idaho, Montana could get federal oversight

Federal Stimulus Cash May Enhance Dozens of North Texas Roads – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Price

Transportation planners and contractors in North Texas are preparing for a major slump in infrastructure stimulus spending, which President Biden unveiled on Wednesday.

Members of Congress are debating how much to spend, but most agree that an infrastructure improvement plan of some size is necessary.

North Texas would be eligible for a large amount.

The North Central Texas Governing Council has a long list of potential transportation projects.

“Not only is it exciting to have these conversations because of the size of the programs, but there is also an opportunity to tear down traditional silos and create a new, bigger vision,” said Michael Morris, NCTCOG transportation director.

For example, Morris said that improved internet access can be seen as an environmentally friendly form of transportation that keeps people from driving.

“We may be talking about equal access to the Internet, possibly as a means of transportation,” said Morris.

President Biden also called for spending on technology breakthroughs on climate issues, with a significant portion of the money going to historically black colleges and universities such as Paul Quinn College in south Dallas.

“I’m very excited about it,” said Greg Cody, Dallas contractor. He attended a historically black university in North Carolina.

He now owns GCC Enterprises, which partnered with a Hispanic company, Azteca, on a renovation project to prepare for bigger things.

“It just shows that when we pool our resources, we can develop something that will increase our capacity,” said Cody.

The Dallas Regional Black Contractors Association is working to encourage the inclusion of minority companies in this grand stimulus plan.

“This is a job creation opportunity and we want to look for ways to say yes instead of excluding people,” said RBCA President Kim Shaw.

Major projects that could be eligible for federal funding include the full reconstruction of I-30 Canyon in Dallas. Deck parks are proposed to connect the downtown segment of I-30 to the Cedars area, which was cut off in the original highway construction.

A bigger vision also removes the elevated street that separates downtown Deep Ellum.

Adding technology for autonomous vehicles of the future and reconnecting neighborhoods could increase the Biden administration’s favor.

“Interstate 30 is a perfect example that I believe will tick all the boxes,” said Morris.

Other examples of major NCTCOG transportation projects that could get a boost include:

* Bullet Train: Dallas to Houston

* Bullet Train: Dallas to Fort Worth

* Autonomous Transit (Tarrant, Midtown)

* Technology (Freeway Induction Loops)

* State Highway 183 (Section 2E +)

* Y connection (IH820 / IH20)

You can see the entire agenda here – https://www.nctcog.org/nctcg/media/Transportation/Committees/STTC/2021/agenda-packet-mar.pdf?ext=.pdf.

On the first page, click the link about 3/4 of the page that says “Electronic Item 3.1”.

Dozens of playwrights, actors be part of ‘Interval Piece’ monologues | Leisure



This combo photo shows Jessica Hecht from left at the premiere of “The Sinner” Season 3 on February 3, 2020 in Los Angeles, Shahadi Wright Joseph at the 25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards on January 12, 2020 in Santa Monica, California and Mandy Moore at the world premiere of “Midway” on November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles. Hecht, Joseph, Moore, and dozens of other actors band together to talk about something seldom mentioned on stage: periods. “Period Piece” consists of 36 monologues by 36 different playwrights, which were performed in three different performances in April.


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By MARK KENNEDY AP Entertainment Writer

Mandy Moore, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Beth Leavel, Jessica Hecht, and dozens of other actors band together to talk about something seldom mentioned on stage: periods.

“Period Piece” consists of 36 monologues by 36 different playwrights, which were performed in three different performances in April.

Contributing dramatists are Sarah Ruhl, Theresa Rebeck, Ngozi Anyanwu, Quinn Fontaine, Kit Yan, and Lauren Gunderson. You will tackle everything from Eleanor Roosevelt to the life of a young Nigerian girl who can’t go to school if she’s bleeding.

“More than half the people in the world have periods, but they’re still taboo,” said Tony Award-winning producer Tracey Knight. “Not only are these stories funny, heartbreaking, and eye-opening, but my partners and I hope they will help destigmatize menstruation as well.”

The list of actors also includes Geneva Carr, Judy Gold, Julie Halston, Cady Huffman, Bianca Marroquin, Kellie Overbey, Lauren Patten, Stacey Sargeant, Futaba Shioda, Agneeta Thacker, Julie White and Kristina Wong. The director is Karen Carpenter.

The show will be streamed on April 12th, 19th and 26th. Tickets start at $ 20 for single shows or $ 40 for all three shows. Part of the proceeds from Period Piece come from it I support the girls Providing products and bras to the homeless and the needy.