Fire. Tear gas. Riot police.
That’s how most people would sum up the visuals they’ve seen coming out of Ferguson, Missouri, lately. And to a large extent, they would be accurate. Ever since the fatal police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August, violent protests have occurred in the city almost nightly. But amid the burning cars and clouds of tear gas, something else is going on. Last weekend, an image of a young boy hugging a police officer during a Ferguson demonstration in Portland, Oregon, went viral. Devonte Hart, 12, was holding a “Free Hugs” sign when the officer approached him and extended his hand.
Little Legend, Devonte Hart, changing the world one hug at a time. Ferguson protests in Portland, OR 2014 pic.twitter.com/uqHqn1j6zV
— ☪heyenne (@CheyenneDennay) December 1, 2014
The heartwarming image quickly became a symbol of peace and friendship during a time of unbelievable division. But it also reminded us that Ferguson isn’t completely engulfed in darkness. In fact, some people are shining brighter than ever before. Here’s a look at some of the most moving images we’ve seen come out of the protests:
These are the Ferguson pictures you aren’t seeing enough of
The hug that stopped everythingHere it is, the hug felt around the world. Reports say Devonte had been hesitant to even talk to the officer at first, but the cop warmed him up a little by talking about travel and summer vacation plans. Instant friendship! The Canadian Press
They make it look easyAccording to this image's uploader, the woman in red told the officer "I don't hate you, I'd rather hug you." The cop then replied "So hug me." The rest, as they say, is history. Twitter/@kevinhendricks
Cleaning upYou've probably heard a lot about the riots going on in Ferguson. But have you heard of the volunteers who show up afterward to help clean up? These folks are lending a hand to the owners of Sam's Meat Market, after the business was looted during the protests. Getty Images
Repairing the damageVolunteers assist in cleaning up a burned out Little Caesars pizza restaurant in Ferguson, Missouri on November 25, 2014.Getty Images
A strengthened communityMichael Brown Sr. and his wife, Calvina Brown, are hugged at Flood Christian Church. Brown's parents have received a massive outpouring of support since the death of their son in August. Getty Images
Saying goodbyeThese kids are hugging their dad (who works as a police officer) one last time before he heads out for his 10th straight, 13-hour night shift, according to the image's uploader. Twitter/@CeRAMicRAMekin
Make love, not warA couple embraces shortly after hearing the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown. Getty Images
A warm mealFor those spending night after night in the cold protesting, other members of the Ferguson community have joined together to serve up nice, warm meals for free. Getty Images
Breaking barriersCaptain Ronald Johnson and a protester hug during a peaceful demonstration on August 2014. Getty Images