Seventeen-year-old CJ Pearson has raised over $160,000 to help local black-owned businesses that had suffered losses by rioters and looters from protests against racial injustice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Pearson is the founder and president of “Last Hope USA”. He said the organization’s initiative is to “show that Black lives matter by supporting these Black-owned businesses that were adversely affected by these recent events, and not intentionally”.
In a bid to help local black-owned businesses recover from protests and repair their stores, Pearson had set a goal of raising $30,000 but just in three days, Pearson was able to raise more than his goal.
“We blew through that goal in just three hours, raising more than $160,000 in three days,” Pearon revealed. “And it blew me away to see the response that we received, but also it filled me with so much hope to be able to help so many people who need this relief now more than ever.”
According to America’s Newsroom, Pearson said that while he saw many people posting black screens on social media in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, he wanted to “actually go do something,” put “actions behind those words,” and give aid to the people who were “so badly in need.”
“I watched so many videos of America burning each and every night and it broke my heart to see it. But, it also broke my heart to see black-owned businesses suffering while people were chanting ‘black lives matter,'” the Atlanta
Pearson already handed a $10,000 check to the owners of Wilbourn Sisters Designs, a local fashion boutique that had suffered damages during the recent protests. “We’re so excited,” Janice Wilbourn said on receiving the cheque. “We’re truly grateful.”
Yesterday, we gave back.— CJ Pearson (@thecjpearson) June 19, 2020
– Donated $10,000 to a small business in need
– Created a $165,000 relief fund that will provide much needed relief to small businesses damaged by rioting.
WE didn’t just SAY black lives matter. WE didn’t just post black screens. WE backed it up. pic.twitter.com/ihWnem6vYF
Wilbourn plans to expand her business with the donation from Pearson. According to her, aside from selling clothes, they will start sewing classes and their first project will be making masks.
Pearson stated he is happy to help those in need and not just be posting on social media. “I think it’s so important to put actions behind our words,” he said. “Posting a black screen isn’t enough. We need to go do something.”
“I’ve got to tell you, burning down a Wendy’s or any establishment didn’t do anything for my black life. So, what I wanted to do is show that conservatives can come together and we can actually help people of colour,” he told Fox News.
“And we’re not just saying black lives matter, we’re showing that they really do indeed matter. We are not just speaking into the atmosphere, but we’re backing their words with action and results.”
Pearson stressed he would give the remaining donations to other small businesses who are struggling and provide the next generation of pioneers and innovators with a financial foundation that he believes “America is definitely going to benefit from.”
Watch his interview where he explained the motivation behind his actions: