17-year-old raises $160k to help Atlanta area black-owned businesses damaged in protests

CJ Pearson, 17, has raised more than $160,000 in the course of just one week to help local black-owned businesses recover from protests. (Paul Barlow/Pixabay)

ATLANTA — A metro Atlanta teenager is working to help local black-owned businesses recover from protests, raising thousands of dollars online for stores to make repairs.

Channel 2′s Kristen Holloway talked to 17-year-old CJ Pearson, who raised more than $160,000 in the course of just a week.

On Thursday, Pearson handed a $10,000 check to the owners of Wilbourn Sisters Designs. The owners said the money will help tremendously after their store suffered significant damages during protests after the death of George Floyd.

On Thursday, Pearson handed a $10,000 check to the owners of Wilbourn Sisters Designs. The owners said the money will help tremendously after their store suffered significant damages during protests after the death of George Floyd.

Pearson said he was happy to take action.

“I think it’s so important that we put actions behind our words,” Pearson told Holloway. “Let’s show that black lives matter by supporting these black-owned businesses that were adversely affected by these recent events, and not intentionally.”

Wilbourn Sisters Designs on Peachtree Street is totally boarded up from top to bottom, along with other businesses along that stretch of road. Scattered glass litters the streets.

Wilbourn Sisters owner Janice Wilbourn was overwhelmed with emotion after Pearson delivered the check.

“We’re so excited,” Wilbourn said. “We’re truly grateful.”

Wilbourn said that the money will help her business do more than sell clothes.

“We’ll be teaching here,” Wilbourn told Holloway. “It will be more of a learning center.”

Wilbourn said that as they start to teach sewing classes, their first project will be making masks.

Pearson said he wanted to show that you have to do more than just post on social media.

“I think it’s so important to put actions behind our words,” Pearson said. “Posting a black screen isn’t enough. We need to go do something.”