- The viral video of black and white toddlers running towards each other, then hugging has found a new meaning.
- Their parents said that their stories could show people how the world could be — without systemic racism.
- The family intends to share their stories and make a positive impact on the people’s fight against racism.
Maxwell and Finnegan were instant internet superstars last year. There was a video posted showing the toddler boys seeing one another, then running toward each other for a hug.
The video appeared again on the internet, this time with a different meaning. Maxwell is black and Finnegan is white. Now, in the middle of the worldwide protests over racial injustice and national conversations about systemic racism, this is how the world could be.
Two toddlers who ran toward each another and hugged in a viral video have a “special friendship,” their parents say.— CNN (@CNN) June 6, 2020
In a recent video call, one of the boys signed off by saying “I love you!” to his best friend. https://t.co/glwEzzV8Pf #CNNSesameStreet pic.twitter.com/fUvXqA5AbD
Sesame Street teamed up with CNN to find the right words to explain to the children what is happening in their community, especially now with the many protests out in the streets. The “Sesame Street” characters appeared in a virtual town hall event that focused on kids and racism. The little boys and their parents were also invited to attend.
In the interview, Erica Russo McKenna said “Maxwell and Finnegan really compliment each other well.” She said that her son “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.”
Before the conversation ended, Maxwell shouted “Bye Finnegan, I love you!” to which Finnegan responded with his goodbyes, melting hearts with their friendship.
“We didn’t really expect any of this. It was just our boys being our boys,” Maxwell’s dad Michael Cisneros said. “We just thought it was a great moment. We shared with family and friends. Our friends said it’s beautiful you could make it go viral. I put it on my Facebook and kept blowing up.”
The video posted online is viewed about 1.2 million times, with 13,000 shares.
“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. I’ve gotten messages from people all around the world,” he continued.
Their parents set up an account on social media for the kids. This is a part of their effort to tell their story, knowing that this is necessary to start changing what is for their children to grow up in a safer community.
“I feel what every parent of a black child feels — it’s scary. How do you give them security without building anxiety?” Michael said.
This is their contribution to the on-going campaign to see an end to systemic racism in the country. Michael intends to share their families’ stories and make a positive impact on this fight against racism.
“I hope we raise two little activists,” he said. “Children do see color, but it doesn’t matter to them.”