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Louisiana girl, on mission to hug officers in 50 states, visits Ferguson

Louisiana girl, on mission to hug officers in 50 states, visits Ferguson

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FERGUSON • A girl who has made it her mission to hug a police officer in all 50 states made it to Ferguson Thursday morning to show police officers here some love.

Rosalyn Baldwin, 7, of Hammond, La., started the mission after officers were killed in ambush attacks last year in Dallas and in her home state, said her mother, Angie Baldwin.

“I’ve just heard all kinds of bad stuff about them and I want to bless them,” Rosalyn said, before turning back into her chair to hide her face.

Rosalyn visited the Ferguson Police Department where she gave everyone hugs. She wore a pink T-shirt with the words “Rosalynloves.com, Hug Ambush” and a black baseball hat with the word “police” across it.

“She told me God told her to go on a mission of love and this was her commandment, to spread love,” Baldwin said. “I tried to blow her off and tell her we could send post cards or just go to the departments in our area, but she told me, ‘No, Mom, they need more love.’ At least I got her off (traveling) the world.”

St. Louis Police Officers’ Association Business Manager Jeff Roorda heard Rosalyn’s story and invited her to Ferguson. Her presence brought together some who have been at odds.

In addition to Roorda and Ferguson police officers, there were members of the Ethical Society of Police, which represents black police officers in St. Louis. Several area ministers who have at times been critical of police, including the Rev. Phillip Duvall, joined in prayer alongside the others to bless the family’s journey and keep them safe. Local rapper Cedric “C-Sharp” Redmon, who also is St. Louis’ youth ambassador, also attended.

“I believe resolve goes further than revolt,” Redmon said. “We need to come together and understand what they deal with, the kind of budget they have, how their equipment and tactics need to be modernized, but they have bureaucracy and legislators they have to deal with.”

Rosalyn and her siblings, Daona, 17, Seanna, 12, and Phillip, 2, have been traveling in an SUV. The floorboards are barely visible, having been covered by stuffed animals and other goodies police departments have given her.

When Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss gave her a Build-A-Bear teddy, she immediately asked if they had one to give her little brother. Moss had someone run back to his office to find something.

Rosalyn visited officers in Illinois earlier this week. It was state number 16.

She’d already been to Missouri, getting a hug in with Springfield, Mo., officers last week as part of her loop through the Midwest.

She and her parents travel during holidays and school breaks, and the trip is being funded partially through the crowdfunding site GoFundMe. They hope to complete the journey in two years, her mother said.

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Christine Byers is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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