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  • Melinda Murphy

9-year-old and friends raise $100k for African-American businesses

The effort to help those affected by the destructive riots in Minneapolis comes in all shapes and sizes.

The colorful creations of 9-year-old Kamryn Johnson, daughter of former Gopher football standout Ron Johnson, prove that even the smallest ideas are capable of big change. “For a 9-year-old to do this, you know, I know anybody can,” Ron said. While making bracelets out on the driveway with her friends, Kamryn said she came up with an idea to sell them to help those in need.

“And then I told my mom my idea and she said that we should give the money to the people in Minneapolis, and I said that that would be a great idea,” Kamryn. Ron hasn’t shown his daughter the video of George Floyd’s deadly arrest at the hands of Minneapolis police. He said he and his wife prayed over it as a family, and acknowledged to their children that it was bad.

“But what can you do to make it better? It’s not sit around and wonder and worry. It’s you know what, let’s make a change,” Ron said. Similar to a kid’s lemonade stand, Kamryn and her friends set up a table in the front yard with signs. The kids laugh and joke around as they keep busy weaving the threads together, while people walk up to buy a few.

Ron spread the word about his daughter’s mission on sports talk radio station KFAN, assuming they would sell a few here and there. It’s a prediction he gladly got wrong.

“You know, long story short, the first day out here she made like over $800. Next day, and this cash, she made another $400, then $500,” he said. With the help of some hefty donations, Kamryn and her friends’ efforts have raised more than $20,000 to help families struggling from destructive aftermath of Floyd’s death. Notable Minnesota athletes and sports figures Chad Greenway, Richard Pitino and Lindsay Whalen were just a few who made contributions. University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel wrote a message to Kamryn in addition to her donation.

“That’s something that I want to get framed and saved,” Ron said. “She has blisters on her fingers now. You now, she’s been working hard for four days. She’s been working harder than I have. I’ve just had to tweet and get on the radio.”

If you’d like to donate to Kamryn’s cause, you can direct it to Ron on the app Venmo. Just look up @RonJohnJr3, and label the donation “Restore Minneapolis” or “Bracelet.”

All the money raised will go to buying supplies to take to Minneapolis and Grace Church.

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