Over the July Fourth holiday weekend, as people took to Twitter to both celebrate the country as well as call out the ways it needs to improve, one Twitter user shared a moment of sheer hope, at a time when many in the country fear growing hate and bigotry.
Rachel MacKnight, an actress based in New York City, posted a photo on July 2, which she took on the city’s C-train, showing a young child from what appears to be a non-white, Muslim family grinning at a baby held by a white woman, who is also smiling.
“Thiiiiiis is what makes America great,” MacKnight’s caption read. “Happy 4th of July, y’all.”
The photo has gone viral, with more than 12,000 retweets and 50,000 likes.
Many people in the comments celebrated the photo as a display of the United States’ ― and New York City’s ― diversity, as well as an instance of community love.
Some shared their own pictures of strangers connecting across cultures and religions.
Others noted that it is a shame that moments of simple kindness between people of different backgrounds are still considered so rare today as to be remarkable. Another user added that the children’s interaction ― which could easily be interpreted without any political or cultural lens ― is just a natural instance of kids having fun.
The photo echoes another viral picture from New York City’s subway, posted on Facebook over the Easter holiday, which celebrated the country’s religious diversity. It showed a Jewish couple sitting next to a Muslim woman in a hijab feeding her baby.
“A Taoist (me) gives up his seat so a Hasidic couple could sit together. They scoot over so a Muslim mother could sit and nurse her baby, on Easter Sunday,” the caption by Jackie Summers read. “This is my America: people letting people be people.”
Since the election of President Donald Trump, several images captured on the New York City subway have garnered nationwide attention for highlighting the diversity ― and divisions ― in the country: In February, for instance, subway riders were photographed cleaning swastikas off of a train’s walls, and in March, a young Latina woman was filmed shutting down a rider’s xenophobic rant.