COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – An unexpected friendship and a bond between families- all from an innocent moment when strangers came across each other while shopping. A 4-year-old yelled “Black Lives Matter” at a woman and got a grateful response, creating a moment that highlights the power of a movement.
“Going into Home Depot, it was fresh in her mind,” said Caasi Radcliff, the girl’s mother. “As soon as she saw Sherri, there was no hesitation.”
Radcliff’s daughter Camryn had recently participated in a family-friendly rally for Black Lives Matter near their home. An event important to Radcliff, who wanted to make sure her young child understood the meaning behind that chant but also wanted to find an age appropriate setting for her.
“I heard ‘Black Lives Matter,'” Sherri Gonzales said, the woman Radcliff met at the store. “She said it with strength, like she was making a point.”
So Gonzales went over to the young girl to start a conversation that would lead to them spending much more time together in the weeks ahead.
“Thank you so much for saying that and recognizing that my life matters,” Gonzales told her. Then they took a picture together and Camryn made a final request. “She said, ‘Would you like to come over for a sleepover?’ that just broke my heart and I said ‘I would love to.'”
When CBS4 got all three together on Friday, Radcliff explained why she said that chant inside the store. Even at a young age, she understands that people are not always treated equally.
“Some people be mean to people who are Black,” she said. “I say Black Lives Matter, so loud, Black Lives Matter!”
While her mother admits it was unfiltered and that she had not talked to her daughter about when to say that phrase. It was touching to see her daughter be authentic and for someone else to help validate it.
“Her reaction was such a genuine expression of what she had been hearing,” Radcliff said. “The fact that it was received so well was not only a testament to me but to her.”
Not only have the two families enjoyed each other’s company, they have found a way to give back together. Gonzales has a charity that helps girls in Kenya continue their education when they reach an age that forces them into marriage. Her organization, Sherri’s Girls Empowerment, recently received a donation of $2,000. Radcliff teamed up with other mothers in her neighborhood to turn the annual garage sale around their homes into a fundraiser.
“Anything to help these girls get an education and get a fair chance at life,” she said. “We do right, we stand up for what’s right, we speak out against injustice.”
The lesson created by her daughter and Gonzales helps Radcliff honor her grandfathers, who both fought the Nazis. Their example decades ago offered an important lesson for her Jewish family to pass on to the next generation that remains relevant today.
These two new friends are still planning a sleepover but before then they are sharing in their love of the Broncos. Gonzales is the mother of former team player D.J. Williams and Radcliff says she wants to be a cheerleader for the team when she is older.
“The youth is going to change the world, in ten years we’re going to see something different,” Gonzales said. “They’re not accepting this anymore.”