Girl from Raleigh soldiers on in effort to hug police officers in every US state
Posted December 28, 2017 5:04 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 1:40 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — An 8-year-old girl who was born in Raleigh and is on a special mission to hug police officers in all 50 states is halfway through her journey as 2017 ebbs into 2018.
Rosalyn Baldwin began dispensing hugs in Louisiana as a way to show appreciation to local law enforcement officers after five Dallas police officers were gunned down in July 2016. A peaceful march in the city's downtown that hot, summer night erupted in gunfire during an ambush by a gunman who was said to have deliberately targeted the Dallas cops.
The young girl, who now lives with her family in Louisiana, organized her hugging crusade under the title of "Rosalyn Loves," a way to acknowledge those who wear the badge and who have sworn to protect and serve.
"Rosalynn Loves is a thing where you hug police officers because you love them and you want to help them," she said, adding that she has doled out over 1,000 hugs to law enforcement officers during her crusade.
"Sometimes I do the side hug," she said. "Sometimes I do the big bear hugs (or) the medium hugs."
Baldwin's parents said they have been overwhelmed by the community response to their daughter's effort. And her hugs have garnered national attention.
"If hugs can get this much attention, then it shows just how broken our world is," said Errick Baldwin, Rosalyn's father. "At the same time, it represents the embodiment of hope and the display of innocence."
The girl's innocence is evident not only in her hugs, but also in her motivation to embrace the men and women who put their lives on the line every day.
"They save us sometimes in battles, and if a bad guy breaks out of jail, they always put him back," Rosalyn said. "So, I want to help them."