Powerful Photograph of 3 Childhood Friends Seen at Black Lives Matter Protest Goes Viral
A moving photograph featuring three friends protesting together has gone viral over social media amid the rallies being held around the world to call for and end against police brutality.
Kiitan Amao and Moyo Badun, who are both Black, were photographed with their friend, Sean Hill, who is white, while protesting in Dundalk, Ireland, earlier this week. In the picture — snapped by photographer Fra Lucchessi — Hill is seen holding a sign that reads, "I’m not black but I see U. I’m not black but I hear. I’m not black but I will Fight 4 u."
The image went viral on Twitter after Amao posted it alongside a picture of the longtime friends when they were children in 2006.
"Sean’s parents and Moyo’s parents took me in like their own and was always in my corner," 18-year-old Amao told Today. “They did this because their sons and I created such a rare bond.”
The post of the two images has been "liked" on Twitter more than a million times since it was uploaded on June 2.
"This s— is too real," Amao wrote in the tweet. "You can't make it up."
Amao told Today that Hill would always come to his defense when he faced discrimination at school or during sports.
"Sean would always speak up on it," Amao said of his friend.
“It hurts me in a way I can’t describe,” Hill told the outlet of seeing Amao become the target of racial discrimination.
Badun said the trio's experiences together have only solidified the strength of their friendship for years to come.
“We’ve been through everything together and that will never stop," he told Today. "We will be brothers for life.”
The photograph of the trip at the protest was taken just over a week after 46-year-old George Floyd, a black man, was killed when a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death sparked rallies across the country and around the world after footage of the incident began to spread over social media.
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“It shows the power of brotherhood," Amao told Today of the photograph. "How any race and any color can unite as one."
The four police officers present during Floyd's arrest were terminated last week for their involvement. Former officer Derek Chauvin — the one who kneeled on Floyd — was taken into custody and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, charges that were later upgraded to second-degree murder on Wednesday afternoon, PEOPLE confirmed.
The three other officers now face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
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.