Massive protests against racism, police brutality, and social injustice have popped up all over the U.S. in the past couple of weeks. And while so many people have been moved by the site of thousands of Americans taking a stand together, the sight of one small person going it alone is proving just as inspiring.
In a now-viral photo, a 9-year-old Chicago boy marched by himself in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter recently, carrying a sign in his front yard. Young Aiden Kelly told ABC News that he wanted to spread some positivity in his neighborhood.
"There's been a lot of crazy things happening for the past few days and I wanted to make people feel happy," he said. His mom Katya Kelley said it all got started when a neighbor asked families to draw hearts on their driveways and sidewalks in support of BLM. Aiden took that one step further, proudly displaying a BLM sign to anyone passing by.
A neighbor snapped a photo of the solo march, earning a whopping 680,000 likes (and counting) on Twitter. The in-person response was just as positive. "Our neighborhood is really tight and he was trying to encourage people that were just driving by. Some would stop and help him, others would tell him to keep up the good work," Aiden's mom said.
Parenting in the midst of social unrest (not to mention a pandemic) isn't easy, but clearly Aiden's family is doing something right. Mom Katya said she didn't feel comfortable taking her kids to one of the large demonstrations happening in Chicago, but clearly, Aiden didn't need the support of a crowd to stand up for the cause.
So many parents—especially white parents—are grappling with the idea of how to talk to their kids about racism for the first time, and wondering whether their young minds are ready for such weighty concepts. Aiden's protest-of-one shows that kids are often so much readier for those conversations than we give them credit for, so there's no time like the present to get started.