In the wake of the civil unrest in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd, a nine-year-old by the name of Kamryn Johnson was inspired to help the Black Lives Matter movement in her own special way. With the help of her friends, she began selling bracelets in her neighborhood to raise money to impact the city in a positive way. However, Kamryn never imagined that she would be able to raise tens of thousands of dollars with her idea!
A Creative Idea
After hearing about the death of George Floyd and seeing the protests and riots on TV, Kamryn wanted to come up with a way to help. She lives close to Minneapolis in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and saw the impact that the coronavirus pandemic and the riots had on businesses in the city, particularly those that were Black-owned. Many businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul were damaged or looted, leaving many business owners scrambling. “When you look at Minneapolis, there is a huge racial gap in basically every aspect of life,” Kamryn’s dad, former NFL player Ron Johnson said in an interview with CNN. “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.”
So the young girl decided to work with five of her friends to make friendship bracelets to raise money for those affected. Kamryn and her friends created a stand to sell the bracelets, and started a GoFundMe account so that others outside of the area could donate. The fundraising idea was appropriately titled, “Kamryn & Friends: Bracelets For Unity & Justice.”
Raising The Funds
Setting up shop right outside of her family home, Kamryn and her friends create vibrant, beautiful bracelets to spread love and hope to customers. However, she also takes the time to explain the exact purpose of the bracelets, in order to spark healthy dialogue with others about racial injustice and police brutality. The stand officially opened for business on May 30, and the news quickly spread throughout the country. With the attention on social media and various news outlets, the bracelets and online fundraising were able to raise over $90,000 before June 20.
Though he was surprised at the amount Kamryn and her friends were able to raise, her dad, Ron, wasn’t the least bit surprised by Kamryn’s idea knowing the type of person that she is. “She has a huge heart and simply wanted to be of help in whatever way she could,” he said. “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.”
Making An Impact
Already the funds are making a positive impact in the Minneapolis community. A portion of the funds have been donated to black businesses in the area to rebuild and revitalize their shops. Other amounts raised will go towards feeding the community and giving families household products they need to survive; especially in this time of crisis. Specifically, Kamryn and her friends are donating some of their funds to food drives organized by Minneapolis’ Sanctuary Covenant Church and the Kyle Rudolph food and supply drive.
Despite their unique ability to be able to give, Kamryn, her friends, and family are even more proud of the impactful conversations that they have had with people in the community surrounding issues that black people are facing in Minneapolis and all over America. Ron hopes that is something that will continue. “We want to stay in the fight. We don’t plan on giving a bit and then walking away and going about our day,” he stated firmly. “We’re fighting for our community and it’s not going to end any time soon. This is a fight for racial equality and an end to police brutality. It’s something we still need to talk about.” For now, Kamryn will continue creating and selling bracelets with her loved ones, and fostering hope for a better country in the years to come.
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