Atlanta Teenager Raises $160,000 for Black-Owned Businesses Hurt During Protests

People carry signs as they march Monday, June 1, 2020, in Atlanta during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/John Bazemore).
AP Photo/John Bazemore

17-year-old Atlanta teen CJ Pearson offered a $10,000 check to the owners of Wilbourn Sisters Designs on Thursday — one of many businesses he is helping to save.

WSB-TV Channel 2′s Kristen Holloway spoke to 17-year-old CJ Pearson, who raised a whopping $160,000 for black-owned businesses harmed or destroyed by the ongoing protests. The demonstrations were sparked by the alleged murder of George Floyd by Officer Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Atlanta is one of the hardest-hit cities in the United States. While initial protests began with relatively peaceful demonstrations of grief and outrage, the days following grew angrier and more violent. Celebrities like Tyler Perry and Killer Mike have issued pleas for the chaos to end.

The latest outgrowth of the ongoing unrest is a national movement to defund the police. On Wednesday, many Atlanta police officers responded by allegedly walking off the job in a protest of their own.

Pearson supports the “Black Lives Matter” movement — which highlights the disproportionate violence against black Americans perpetrated by law enforcement — but believes there is a better way to express solidarity with victims than violence, looting, or hashtags.

“I think it’s so important that we put actions behind our words,” Pearson said in the interview, saying he was “happy” to take action. “Let’s show that black lives matter by supporting these black-owned businesses that were adversely affected by these recent events, and not intentionally.”


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