A 12-year-old boy has been removed from his Atlanta-based home after his mother filmed her family abusing him and shared it on Instagram Live. Now the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services and the Atlanta police are investigating.
The video appears to show family members hitting the boy, and the word "gay" is seen to be cut in across the side of his head with clippers, according to WXIA.
Activist and Atlanta city council candidate Devin Barrington-Ward told the outlet, "It popped up on my social media on Friday and when I saw it my heart was broken because I saw a piece of myself in that."
Barrington-Ward is running to represent District 9, where the incident occurred. He reached out to the family to offer support for the boy.
"As a Black queer man, I have experienced some of the same homophobia and some of the same abuse by the hands of people that I love as a child," Barrington-Ward explained.
He added, "If you saw that and you didn't see anything wrong with that, you're part of the problem."
Barrington-Ward said he sought to connect to the family and did so with Black trans organizer Hope Giselle from Miami. They spoke with the mother about raising Black queer children while experiencing poverty.
"What I told him on the patio at his home is that you're loved, we care for you, we got your back," Barrington-Ward said. "I apologized because we didn't create enough safe spaces to prevent this from happening."
Two fundraisers are planned to support the boy. One online and a drag show on Thursday, June 24, Thursday, June 24, at My Sister's Room in Atlanta from 6-9 p.m.
A decision has yet to be made on whether or not the boy will remain with children's services, according to WXIA.