A 9-Year-Old and Her Friends Raised Over $100K for Looted Black-Owned Businesses by Selling Bracelets

Hana Hong

A group of people just raised $100,000 from their front yard to support black-owned businesses and neighborhoods. And the most impressive part? They’re all under 12 years old.

It all started when 9-year-old Kamryn Johnson was stuck in quarantine in Minneapolis. Out of boredom and cabin fever, she decided to rally five of her friends (ranging in age from 5 to 12) and open up a stand selling friendship bracelets. Kamryn’s mom suggested it would be nice to do something positive for others instead of keeping the money for themselves—and the altruistic kids agreed. With that, “Kamryn & Friends: Bracelets for Unity and Justice” was born.

Kamryn & Friends for Unity and Justice

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After some group deliberation about where to donate the money, the group decided that the proceeds would be given to businesses and local food banks in Minneapolis. Most of the funds would go towards helping black-owned businesses and neighborhoods in Minneapolis affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the aftermath of the protests following the death of George Floyd, especially those that have been denied insurance claims for riot damage.

“When you look at Minneapolis, there is a huge racial gap in basically every aspect of life," Ron Johnson, a former NFL player and Kamryn’s father, told 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."

The group could not have expected how popular the booming business would become. Since setting up the tent in Kamryn's front lawn on May 30, the kids have raised over $100,000 through sales of the bracelets online fundraising and donations.

“We assumed she was only going to sell a handful of bracelets, at most, and I would match whatever amount she made," Johnson says. "She has a huge heart and simply wanted to be of help in whatever way she could. 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."

According to Johnson, Kamryn has blisters on her fingers from working so hard to craft the bracelets. Although the group was charging between $1 and $5 per bracelet, they were earning much more. According to an interview in the Washington Post, people are giving $10, $20, and $50 bills. “One man pulled up out of nowhere and dropped off a $100 bill for one bracelet. A few people have done that.”

In addition to selling bracelets—each woven with different colors—the group has also set up a GoFundMe page collecting online donations that has racked up $46,000 so far. 

And financial support isn’t the only influence Kamryn and her friends are having. Their part in the movement is so much more: "Day after day, we're having impactful conversations with so many people. So many of our community members have come by to drop off supplies, or just talk about things like racism and injustice, stuff that we don't talk about very often,” said Johnson. 

“We want to stay in the fight. We don't plan on giving a bit and then walking away and going about our day. We're fighting for our community and it's not going to end any time soon.”

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