It's been a challenging few weeks to say the least. There's so much bad happening at all once that a lot of people don't know what to do, where to start, or how to make things better. The desperate feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming and even make us question whether one person can actually make a difference.
Reminder: they can.
GMA - "We make bracelets and we give the money to the people in Minneapolis," said Kamryn Johnson, who started selling bracelets made of colorful thread for people in her community, to raise money for those in need. "Every time a customer comes, we always tell them why we're doing this."
So simple and, yet, extremely rare. When is the last time you saw a kid set up shop in their front yard to sell lemonade, cookies, or whatever? The only kids I've personally ever seen in action are Girl Scouts, and that isn't necessarily by their own accord. In fact, most children are hyper-focused on themselves and their lives because they're kids and that's kind of their job: adults worry about the world, kids worry about being kids.
Not Kamryn, though. At 9-years-old, she looked around her community in Minneapolis, asked herself what she could, and decided to sell friendship bracelets in her front yard for families in need. Absolutely amazing. And, in just over a week, she raised over $42,000 thanks to customers from all walks of life.
More importantly, Kamryn and her family are opening up respectful, transformative dialogues with people they might have otherwise never met.
"Not only are we meeting some of these neighbors for the first time, we are going deep right away into the issues happening in the world right now," said Kamryn's mother, Shani Johnson.
One of the conversations Shani remembers is one she had with a man who had driven from more than 30 minutes away who told her how sorry he was after George Floyd’s death.
"He just started crying and he just said, 'I'm so sorry,'" said Shani. "Not only are we getting to have these conversations that we normally wouldn't want to have, people are willing to do differently to act different so this world can be changed."
If people are driving half an hour to your bracelet stand just to apologize for something they weren't personally responsible for, you're doing something right. Because that's what it's all about: talking to people and listening to their stories so that each of our perspectives may broaden.
And all it took was one little girl and her friendship bracelets.
(If you're interested in supporting the incredible cause head to their GoFundMe page or Venmo @RonJohnJr3 and leave your mailing address in the comments on private mode if you would like a bracelet.)