CJ Pearson, a 17-year old teen from Atlanta, who is helping local Black-owned businesses that were damaged by violent protesters and rioters. With the help of the Georgia Association of Minority Entrepreneurs, he raised $160,000 in just one week to help stores rebuild.
CJ, who is the founder of an organization called Last Hope USA, started the initiative with hopes to “show that Black lives matter by supporting these Black-owned businesses that were adversely affected by these recent events, and not intentionally,” he told WSBTV.
Wilbourn Sisters Designs, a local fashion boutique, was one of the significantly damaged stores during the protests after George Floyd’s death. Janice Wilbourn, its owner, was very grateful when CJ gave them a $10,000 check to help rebuild.
Now, aside from selling clothes, Wilbourn plans to do more with the money they received. She said they will start teaching sewing classes, with their first project to be making masks.
CJ says that he is glad to directly 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.”