Since the protests over the viral video of a police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, many cities across the country, and even around the world, have experienced rioting and looting after police confrontations and after protests are done. One teenager in Atlanta decided to help out local black business owners impacted by these events.
Seventeen-year-old CJ Pearson is the founder of Last Hope USA, an organization and initiative that supports Black-owned businesses that have been adversely affected by recent events. According to WSBTV, Pearson handed a $10,000 check to the owners of Wilbourn Sisters Designs, a local fashion boutique that had been badly damaged during the protest over racial injustice.
Janice Wilbourn, an owner of Wilbourn Sisters Designs, was overwhelmed with emotion by Pearson’s generous gift. “We’re so excited,” Wilbourn told WSBTV. “We’re truly grateful.” She went on to say she plans on expanding her store to do more than sell clothes; providing sewing lessons and producing face masks in response to COVID-19.
“We’ll be teaching here,” she said. “It will be more of a learning center.”
With the help of the Georgia Association of Minority Entrepreneurs, Pearson has managed to raise $160,000 to help stores rebuild.
“Let’s show that Black Lives Matter by supporting these Black-owned businesses that were adversely affected by these recent events, and not intentionally,” Pearson said to WSBTV.
Pearson was motivated to take real-world action in light of the recent events rather than just participate on social media. “I think it’s so important to put actions behind our words,” said Pearson. “Posting a black screen isn’t enough. We need to go do something.”