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The Story Behind Black Boy Hugging a White Cop at a Ferguson Demonstration

Amidst the many photos of hate, anger, sadness and sometimes outright destruction that have flooded the media since a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, sparking riots and protests across the US, there are glimmers of hope and humanity. One such glimmer was captured by Oregon-based freelance photographer Jonny Nguyen at a Ferguson demonstration in Portland earlier this week. The photo shows 12-year-old Devonte Hart, his eyes welling with tears as he hugs Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum, and the story behind it was reported first by The Oregonian in an article published earlier today. Apparently Hart — whose full profile is a truly inspirational read — was at the demonstration holding a sign that said “free hugs” when Barnum noticed him with tears in his eyes. He motioned the young man over and the two began talking. After they were done, Barnum pointed to the sign and asked “Do I get one of those?” A question Hart answered with a tearful hug. Fortunately for those of us who need to have our faith in humanity restored on occasion, Nguyen was there with his camera. We asked Johnny if there was anything about the photo that he might like to share with fellow photographers. Here’s what he had to say:
I had a gut feeling there was something special about Devonte, so I stayed at the scene. Before I knew it, Sgt. Barnum was speaking to Devonte. That’s when I got the powerful image of them hugging. From there, I knew I had something special. Something that I wanted the world to see. A powerful message I wanted to communicate. As a photographer, you always have to trust your gut – your intuition. It’s your best tool.
via PetaPixel.

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