This Photo Of A Police Officer And A Young Boy Hugging At A Ferguson Protest Is Going Viral

The photo has been called “the hug shared around the world.”

This photo of Devonte Hart, a 12-year old boy, hugging a police officer at a Ferguson protest in Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday has gone viral and been dubbed “the hug shared around the world.

This photo of Devonte Hart, a 12-year old boy, hugging a police officer at a Ferguson protest in Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday has gone viral and been dubbed " the hug shared around the world. "

AP Photo/Johnny Huu Nguyen

As speakers addressed the crowd, Sgt. Bret Barnum saw the young boy with tears in his eyes, holding a “Free Hugs” sign.

According to a widely-reported Facebook post by Devonte's mother, Jen Hart, that has since been deleted:

[Sgt. Barnum] asked Devonte why he was crying. His response about his concerns regarding the level of police brutality towards young black kids was met with an unexpected and seemingly authentic (to Devonte), “Yes. *sigh* I know. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.” Brett (the officer) then asked if he could have one of his hugs.

Sgt. Barnum explained:

Knowing how he struggled with police, his bravery and courage to catch my eye and approach me were impressive.

And it's a blessing for me that I didn't miss an opportunity to impact this child.

I noticed Devonte was struggling. Tears. He wouldn't speak. He was unconsolable. My son has a heart of a gold, compassion beyond anything I've ever experienced, yet struggles with living fearlessly when it comes to the police and people that don't understand the complexity of racism that is prevalent in our society.

He wonders if someday when he no longer wears a Free Hugs sign around his neck, when he's a full grown black male, if his life is in danger for simply being. I assure you his concerns do not arise from watching too much television, because we don't have tv.

He draws from his own personal experiences and from the discussions we hold as a family about things/events that are going on in the world. As a mom raising black children, it's undeniable that these concerns weigh heavy on my heart at times.

People don't want to talk about racism. People do not want to dig to the root of the issue. It's so much easier to stick to your belief and avoid engaging in dialogue with someone that you don't share the same opinion/view/belief with.


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