After last summer's violence against police, a 7-year-old Louisiana girl set out to hug a police officer in every state. And she could use your help getting there.
Rosalyn Baldwin, of Hammond, is traveling with her family to complete this mission of love, as her mom Angie Baldwin calls it.
"Love is the motivating factor prompting our 7-year-old's daughter dream called RosalynLoves," according to the related GoFundMe campaign description.
"... One day after church she said to us, 'I want to hug all of the police officers in every state. It's in my heart.' From these words, RosalynLoves was birthed."
While the Hammond area is home, the family travels every summer, and this year is no different. Rosalyn and her three siblings are seeing the world, one state at a time.
Today it's Chicago, following recent trips through Oklahoma and Nebraska. Next will be New England.
They started in January in St. Tammany Parish. Illinois makes 16 states Rosalyn has hugged officers so far.
It's a bit of a whirlwind, Angie admits, but it's been worth it to see the officers' response.
"When a little girl comes up and gives them a hug and says she loves them, their morale goes to a whole other level," the mom said.
Rosalyn got the idea after shootings of police officers in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge last summer.
"That hit too close to home," Angie said. "She said, 'We have to do more, Mom. What can I do?'"
The trip has revealed the hard job law enforcement across the country face daily.
"Chicago is a beautiful city, but the things these officers have to face...," Angie trailed off.
That's why she hopes her daughter's "mission of love" catches on with others across the country — that others take it upon themselves to spread love, too.
Media attention from the local to national scale — "CNN called me," Angie said with disbelief — has been a little overwhelming for the 7-year-old.
But she powers through with help from her mom. But Angie is quick to point out that it's all about Rosalyn.
"This is her, not me," she said.
Work keeps Dad, Errick Baldwin, back in Louisiana a lot of the time. He is a Methodist preacher and works at Northshore Technical College.
But he joins his family on the trip as often as he can.
"We tries to be with us as much as possible," Angie said.
You can follow Rosalyn's journey, "RosalynLoves," online through Facebook, GoFundMe or on the family's blog RosalynLoves.com. The site's tagline is "Hug a cop today. They may save your life tomorrow."
The GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $4,200 since Jan. 11 with 75 donations ranging from $5 to $100 or more. Some comment as they donate.
"Thank you and good luck spreading love and unity by showing gratitude to the police officers that do so much and sacrifice so much to keep our communities safe," Mark Marshall wrote. "What you are doing is so inspirational and healing."
The fundraising goal is $7,000, which will go toward costs of the cross-country trip.
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