Society and Culture

Dylann Roof’s Sister Launches GoFundMe: Sympathetic or Offensive?

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The sister of Dylann Roof launched an online campaign just a few days ago to raise money to pay for her wedding and honeymoon. Amber Roof’s wedding was abruptly cancelled after her brother massacred nine people in Charleston, South Carolina. The couple was to be married on June 21st, four days after Dylann Roof gunned down nine people at the historic Emanuel AME Church. Dylann Roof told officials that he wanted to start a “race war.” He has now been charged with nine counts of murder. His actions have been labeled an act of terrorism by some, and many are still trying to cope with the pain of this tragedy. However Amber Roof’s actions are coming across to many as more insensitive than sympathetic.

The fundraiser was just removed from GoFundMe last week. Before it was removed, Roof stated that she and her fiance cancelled the wedding “to protect our family and mourn the lives of those lost” but now they want another chance at happiness. She went on to say that the media abused their privacy and destroyed the first day that they were going to share together. Her GoFundMe Page was titled “A Fresh Start For Michael and Amber.” She stated,

Our wedding day was suppose to be the most important and special day of our lives. It was suppose to start our lives together with our new family. Our day was the exact opposite. Our wedding day was full of sorrow, pain, and shame, tainted by the actions of one man.

Roof raised over $1,700 out of her $5,000 goal before the campaign was taken down. No one is sure if she took the campaign down herself or if it was removed by those in charge of GoFundMe. Despite receiving some support, the page attracted some very harsh comments as well. One woman posted:

This has to be the most self-centered and insensitive fundraising page I’ve ever encountered and I’m shocked that gofundme hasn’t erased you from their existence already! I can’t imagine the anguish and sorrow that your own brother has inflicted on so many wonderful and kind people and all the while, you are fantasizing about letting others fund your honeymoon!!

For Roof to say that she has endured sorrow and pain due to their wedding cancellation is something I see as selfish and ridiculous. She stated on the fundraising page, “We know money cannot replace the wedding we lost and our perfect day, however it will help us to create new memories and a new start with our new family.” But what about the lives that cannot be replaced? I am honestly shocked that Roof had the nerve to refer to her wedding as such a huge loss when people had family members that they lost and will never be with again. There is no comparison between canceling a wedding and having a family member killed. People have described Amber’s want for money as disgusting, tacky, and some even joked that there needs to be a “Defund Me” site created just for her.

Before Amber’s GoFundMe was launched, rumors were going around that over $4 million was raised for the murderer himself. Although these claims have not been proven to be true, there are some people who do actually support Dylann Roof. Amber’s a different story–I do not think that Amber Roof should be punished for the actions of her brother nor do I think that she should never have her dream wedding. But this was not the appropriate time or way to go about making that happen. She should not be thinking only about herself during a time that has rendered pain, hurt, and fear in the hearts of so many people.

Taelor Bentley
Taelor is a member of the Hampton University Class of 2017 and was a Law Street Media Fellow for the Summer of 2015. Contact Taelor at



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