By Seung Lee The Mercury News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Local cannabis companies teamed up to organize a water bottle fundraiser for 8 year old Jordan Rodgers who was called out by #permitpatty for selling water without a permit outside AT&T park. 100 percent of the proceeds would go to Rodger's newly started college fund.
Jordan Rodgers had mud on her new jeans from rolling around in the grass by Lake Merritt's pergola, a stone's throw away from where the white woman known as #BBQBecky called the police on two black barbecuers back in April.
Rodgers, an 8-year-old black girl from San Francisco, was recently caught in a similar media storm of her own, when Alison Ettel, nicknamed #PermitPatty on social media, called the police on Rodgers for selling water bottles outside AT&T Park last month without a permit.
A video of the incident went viral, and Ettel resigned from her position as CEO of Treatwell Health, a company that sells cannabis products for both human beings and animals.
Recently, Rodgers was the center of a different kind of media event. Local cannabis companies teamed up to organize a water bottle fundraiser for Rodgers, from which 100 percent of the proceeds would go to her newly started college fund.
Shortly after the fundraiser started at noon, Rodgers received a check of $1,812 for her college fund from the dispensaries. Rodgers sold water bottles, chips and cookies from her stand from noon to 4 p.m. A local taco stand accompanied Rodgers' fundraiser.
Despite being the center of national media attention for weeks, Rodgers remained shy but relaxed about the whole situation. Rodgers initially sold water bottles to one day buy tickets to Disneyland.
"It's all good," said Rodgers when asked how she's felt since the video went viral.
Her mother, Erin Austin, said that the past few weeks have felt "like a dream."
"I feel like I've been asleep for the past three weeks," Austin said. "We just want to go back to a new normal."
The event was organized by Galen Pallas, a cannabis industry entrepreneur who recently launched Kind Culture, a bulk-purchasing startup for local marijuana dispensaries.
Pallas, who grew up in Oakland, said he reached out to Rodgers' family after discovering Ettel worked in the cannabis industry and coordinated with them and other dispensaries to plan out the fundraiser.
"I grew up selling slushies and water in front of my house in Oakland every August," said Pallas. "When I learned (Ettel) owned a company in the industry I was in, I felt a responsibility to not let the video be the end of the story for Jordan."
During one dinner with Rodgers, Pallas asked one thing she wanted most. Rodgers replied, an apology.
"Well, the woman just went on television and try to make it my fault," said Pallas, recounting what Rodgers told him at that dinner. "If she just called me directly and said 'I'm sorry,' I would have forgiven her."
Two other dispensaries, Apothecarium and Magnolia, teamed up with Pallas for the fundraiser. Apothecarium chief marketing officer Eliot Dobris said once the company learned Ettel was Permit Patty, they donated the remaining sales of Treatwell Health to Rodgers.
Pallas highlighted the fundraiser was one of many social responsibility events he hoped the cannabis industry will engage in going forward. Pallas said Kind Culture will donate a portion of its profits to African-American children in Oakland who had at least one parent jailed before cannabis became legalized.
He also stressed he wants to get the cannabis industry to donate 5 percent of its profits as reparations for those who were jailed during the War on Drugs.
"Instead of having a launch party for my startup, this felt like a better use of my funds," Pallas said. "I think the vast majority of the cannabis industry I've spoken to are hyper-aware that local jails are filled with black and brown bodies. We are now making profits off the plant those people were sent to jail for. We feel a social responsibility to make amend and help correct the atrocities which happened in the past."
Organizers and Rodgers' family members felt the fundraiser can help bring awareness and spread love to the Bay Area, which recently has seen videos like #BBQBecky and #PermitPatty go viral.
Recently, another video was captured in San Francisco where a woman demanded a street vendor on Market Street have a permit to sell goods. The woman later spoke to KTVU, saying the demand for a permit was part of her job as a community guide in the downtown area.
"When we were growing up in San Francisco, we were taught to mind our business," said Michaela Fountila, who is Rodgers' godmother. "We just want to spread love. We come in different shapes and colors but we have much more things in common than not."
Rodgers added that she was looking forward to something else after the event: getting her hair braided before she and her family go to Disneyland next week.