Amid protests against police brutality against Black people, riots erupted throughout the nation. After noticing Black-owned businesses that were looted in the process 17-year-old CJ Pearson — founder and president of Last Hope USA — stepped in to lend a helping hand.
According to Face 2 Face Africa, Pearson raised $160,000 in three days to help local Black-owned businesses repair their stores and offset monetary losses. Although Pearson’s initial goal was $30,000, he surpassed it with overwhelming help from contributors.
“We blew through that goal in just three hours, raising more than $160,000 in three days,” Pearson said, according to Face 2 Face Africa. “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.”
Pearson felt called to action after watching the post protest riots.
“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,” he said.
Since amassing funds, Pearson has donated $10,000 to Wilbourn Sisters Designs, a fashion boutique that was a victim of looting and rioting.
Face 2 Face Africa reports that the owner of the boutique plans on using the donation to eventually offer sewing classes to customers where they will learn how to make masks.
Pearson’s philosophy is one of action and he is determined to back up his words with results.
“And we’re not just saying black lives matter, we’re showing that they really do indeed matter,” he said. “We are not just speaking into the atmosphere, but we’re backing their words with action and results.”
Next up, the nonprofit founder plans to give the remaining donations to even more small businesses struggling to stay afloat and provide the next generation of innovators with the financial support they need, Fox News reports.