Donations and Gratitude Pour In for Chelsea Manning's Homecoming
'Chelsea has done so much for all of us, and inspired so many people, supporting her as she transitions back into the free world is the least that we can do.'
A fundraiser to "welcome home" Chelsea Manning launched just two days ago has already surpassed $50,000, which observers say is a testament to the inspiration that the transgender leader and military whistleblower has provided to so many supporters.
More than 1,200 people have donated upwards of $53,000 to the effort, with the goal of reaching $100,00 to help Manning pay for basic living expenses upon her arrival home on May 17.
"Upon her release she will need logistical, emotional, and financial support to safely transition into the free world," notes the GoFundMe page organized by Manning's friends and family. "For the first time in her life, Chelsea will have the opportunity to live freely as her authentic self, to grow her hair, engage with her friends, and build her own networks of love and support. We want her to have the tools to do that and to overcome the years of abuse she has experienced in custody."
After seven years of incarceration, her sentence was commuted by Barack Obama last month in one of his final acts as president.
Noting the speed with which donations are pouring in, journalist Glenn Greenwald, a vocal advocate of Manning who wrote a letter of clemency on her behalf, wrote online Friday, "Her act of conscience & subsequent courage has inspired many people."
That sentiment was echoed by countless others who posted notes of thanks and support on the fundraiser page.
"You are such a courageous person who has endured so much for the benefit of others," said Tristan Townsend. "Thank you so much."
Another donor who identified as "Concerned Random Swedish Citizen," wrote: "I think that if we had more people like you the world would be a much better place all around. THANK YOU for finding the COURAGE to do what you could in order to put a stop to this MADNESS."
Manning, a former Army intelligence officer, gave 700,000 classified U.S. State and Defense Department documents to WikiLeaks in 2010. Among numerous classified diplomatic cables, the leaks included a video showing a U.S. helicopter attack on Baghdad that killed two Reuters journalists and numerous Iraqi civilians.
During her incarceration, Manning was subject to solitary confinement and repeatedly denied basic healthcare; she also survived two suicide attempts.
"I can't begin to imagine the challenges you've faced," wrote another donor, Berivan Esen. "Happy for the freedom and better life that awaits you."
After the campaign launched on Wednesday, Manning tweeted from her personal account:
— Chelsea Manning (@xychelsea) February 7, 2017
"It's incredible to see this outpouring of support for Chelsea, but it's not surprising," observed Evan Green, campaign director of the civil liberties organization Fight for the Future and a friend of Manning's. "Chelsea has done so much for all of us, and inspired so many people, supporting her as she transitions back into the free world is the least that we can do."