Inspired by the recent protests in across the country, daughter of former NFL player Ron Johnson and her friends decided to start a summer business to help Minneapolis communities in need.
Kamryn Johnson, 9, and five of her friends who live in the same neighborhood in Chanhassen named their effort, “Kamryn & Friends: Bracelets For Unity & Justice” and set up a stand since May 30.
When the children first came up with the idea, Johnson expected them to raise “maybe $50 or something small.”
However, news of their efforts began to spread, prompting people across the country to donate to the cause.
They have so far raised more than $90,000 through friendship bracelet sales, online fundraising and donations, which they will donate to small businesses damaged during protests and food banks in Minneapolis.
“She has a huge heart and simply wanted to be of help in whatever way she could,“ Johnson said in an interview. “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.”
The small businesses had already taken a toll during the coronavirus pandemic when Minnesota was forced to shutdown the entire state for a month.
Then they took another hit after George Floyd’s death on May 25 sparked outrage, protests and violence across the country.
“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.”
Kamryn and her friend’s movement have also made another impact.
“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,” Johnson expressed.
“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. This is a fight for racial equality and an end to police brutality. It’s something we still need to talk about.”