A 9-year-old and her friends have raised nearly $100,000 selling bracelets to help black-owned businesses.
A group of friends with big dreams and even bigger hearts started a summer business that is helping black-owned businesses and neighborhoods in Minneapolis affected by the coronavirus pandemic and protests following the death of George Floyd.
Fueled by boredom and an itch for something new, 9-year-old Kamryn Johnson and five of her friends who live in neighboring Chanhassen decided to open a stand selling friendship bracelets.
After a lot thinking about where the money would end up going, the group agreed that the proceeds would be donated to businesses and food banks in Minneapolis.
Led by Kamryn, the group named their effort “Kamryn & Friends: Bracelets For Unity & Justice.” Since setting up the stand on May 30, the kind kiddos have raised more than $90,000 through sales of the bracelets online fundraising and donations, according to Kamryn’s dad, former NFL player Ron Johnson.
“She has a huge heart and simply wanted to be of help in whatever way she could,” Johnson told CNN. “She and her friends are finding ways to feed the families of Minneapolis and give back to their community in the way they know how.”
While the funds will be going toward helping various businesses damaged during protests, Johnson said the focus is on helping black business owners get back on their feet.
They had already been harmed by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced Minnesota into a statewide shutdown for a month. Then the May 25 death of black resident George Floyd triggered nights of protests and violence in cities across the country.
Scores of businesses in the Twin Cities — Minneapolis and St. Paul — were damaged or looted during days of unrest.
‘When you look at Minneapolis, there is a huge racial gap in basically every aspect of life,” Johnson said. “It’s not equal. We want to be there for black businesses, especially those that don’t have insurance agents to help them out, to let them know they have people that will protect and fight for them.”