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Dad of toddler in viral hugging video calls their friendship ‘a beacon of hope’

Click to play video 'A Black and a white kid running towards each other with open arms goes viral' A Black and a white kid running towards each other with open arms goes viral
WATCH: The video — showing a Black and a white child running towards each other with open arms, excited to play together -- was originally uploaded to Facebook in September 2019 and has gained a lot of attention in the media. – Jun 8, 2020

Many will remember the touching video of two toddlers running towards each other for a hug on the streets of New York. Now, it’s resurfaced with even greater meaning.

Last September, dad Michael B. Cisneros shared footage of two boys, Maxwell and Finnegan, approaching each other with their arms outstretched. One can be heard happily exclaiming: “My friend.”

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They embrace, look at a toy Finnegan brought and continue their run down the sidewalk.

The video has since been watched more than 1.2 million times and has been shared 13,000 times. It’s now garnering even more views as the young ones’ friendship comes to signify solidarity being seen in the worldwide #BlackLivesMatter movement following George Floyd’s death.

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Maxwell is Black, Finnegan is white and they are best friends all the same.

“This is just so beautiful,” Cisneros wrote in the original Facebook caption. “Finnegan + Maxwell = Besties. If we could all be like this.”

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Last week, Finnegan’s mom Erica Russo McKenna re-uploaded the heartwarming video in light of the recent marches protesting against police brutality and anti-Black racism.

“If we hope for change, we need to reach for change,” she captioned the video. “We need to work for change. We need to fight for change. Let’s not allow that hope to rest of these kids. It’s up to us.”

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The adorable boys, who are both three years old this year, were featured with their parents on Saturday’s CNN town hall in collaboration with Sesame Street, which focused on kids and racism.

“Maxwell and Finnegan really compliment each other well,” Russo McKenna told CNN. “Finnegan is a bit of a daredevil, but Maxwell is more like the voice of reason, and they challenge each other.”

“They have a really special friendship.”

At the end of the video call included in the town hall, Maxwell can be heard exclaiming: “Bye, Finnegan! I love you!”

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Luckily for the world, their “special friendship” is now being highlighted and followed on their own personal social media account, @wellegan. The page features dozens of adorable photos of the two lounging, dancing, exploring and playing together.

They’ve even been finding time to play together despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, while social distancing in their own chalk-drawn circles.

When the video first blew up on the internet, Cisneros was in shock.

“I didn’t see it at the time, but I see it now. It was a beacon of hope. It shows love and what the future could be like if children were raised in a different way. … It’s going to be kind of iconic.”

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meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca