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The Story Behind This Viral Photo Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity

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In these turbulent and troubled times, it can be easy to feel as though the world is filled with nothing but hatred and strife. Which is why photos like this one showing a cop and protester sharing an emotional embrace at a Ferguson rally is such a wonderful reminder that a small act of sincere compassion is like a candle that, while tiny, illuminates all the darkness.

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Police officer Sgt. Bret Barnum was at a Ferguson demonstration in Portland, OR, on November 25, 2014, when he spotted 12-year-old Devonte Hart silently holding up a cardboard sign offering "Free Hugs." The officer called the young man over and they started having a meaningful discussion about school, life, and, of course, the reasons for the protest. Toward the end, Sgt. Barnum pointed to Devonte's sign and asked, "Do I get one of those?" As the two embraced, the peaceful protester was clearly overcome with emotion as the cop gently patted him on the back to tell him everything would be allright.

The extraordinary moment was captured by freelance photographer Johnny Nguyen, and onceThe Oregonianposted the incredible photo onto their Facebook wall, it quickly went viral, shared thousands of times around the world. Devonte's mother, Jennifer Hart, then a moving, more detailed account of the events on her Facebook page:

"We hit the streets (Nov. 25) with the intention of spreading love and kindness, and to remind (ALL) people that they matter in this world...I noticed Devonte was struggling. Tears. He wouldn't speak. He was inconsolable. 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...It was one of the most emotionally charged experiences I've had as a mother. He trembled holding a Free Hugs sign as he bravely stood alone in front of the police barricade. Tears rushing from his eyes and soaking his sweater, he gazed upon them not knowing how they would react. After a while, one of the officers approached him and extended his hand. Their interaction was uncomfortable at first...There were generic questions about his favorite subject and what he liked to do in the summer, but the one that mattered hit straight to the heart. He 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." The officer then asked if he could have one of his hugs."
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Even now, the photo continues to make the rounds all over social media, standing as a firm testament and compelling reminder that even in the face of brutality, humanity prevails.





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Date: 06.12.2018, 22:08 / Views: 64133