Aiden Kelley also asked passerby to show their support by leaving drawings in chalk on the sidewalk

By Rachel DeSantis
June 09, 2020 11:55 AM
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As thousands of protesters flooded the streets across the country to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, one 9-year-old boy took to his front yard to do the same, all on his own.

A neighbor spotted Aiden Kelley staging his very own protest outside his Chicago home on Saturday, and shared a picture of the grade-schooler to Twitter, which has since gone viral.

“There’s been a lot of crazy things happening for the past few days and I wanted to make people feel happy,” he told Good Morning America.

Aiden was inspired to act after seeing the protests on TV — and also made sure to incorporate ways for his community to get involved even if they didn’t want to march with him, WLS reported.

“I didn’t want to just be out here with a crowd staring at me holding my sign,” he told the outlet. “I mean, I thought it would be better to just stand here and have people come and then ask them if they want to draw and write something.”

Aiden Kelley
NBC4/ Facebook

Mom Katya Kelley said her son’s activism initially began after a neighbor encouraged local families to show their support by drawing hearts in solidarity on their driveways.

Aiden took the idea and ran with it, covering his driveway in supportive drawings and messages, and asking people who drove by his home to do the same, his mom told GMA.

“He was outside doing this all Saturday. Our neighborhood is really tight and he was trying to encourage people that were just driving by,” she said. “Some would stop and help him, others would tell him to keep up the good work.”

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He even propped up a whiteboard outside, asking passerby to write or draw inside one of the hearts, hands or flowers he’d created to “be kind and inspire others.”

Mom Katya said she thought about bringing her son and his younger siblings to larger protests in Chicago, but opted not to for safety reasons. She did, however, teach him about peaceful protests, and had him watch some on TV.

“I just want everybody to be treated nicely and not anybody be treated differently,” Aiden told WLS.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.