Viral photo shows love in aftermath of Charleston tragedy

Posted at 11:02 AM, Jun 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-23 11:05:59-04

CHARLESTON, S.C. — An emotional photo that captured a South Carolina man’s three-year-old son hugging a fellow South Carolinian has gone viral.

John Nettles told the Huffington Post he and his family were walking near Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston when they saw Taylor Willis and her friend Beth holding signs that read, “Free Hugs #CharlestonStrong.”

Nettles asked the women if he could take their photo. As he got ready to take the photo, his three-year-old son ran to them for a hug.

Nettles shared the photo on Facebook, where it has over 2,200 likes and over 1,000 shares:

“This picture was hard to take and hard to edit…because Parker doesn’t understand how powerful that hug is. To him it’s just a hug. He doesn’t understand that he’s hugging a black woman and that he’s a white boy. He doesn’t understand that just last week there was another white boy who decided to murder several black people – just because they’re black. To him, it’s just a hug with another person. It’s probably the most beautiful hug I’ve ever witnessed.”