Courtney describes his choice to avoid violence and engage with Furniss and other counter-protests: “I could have hit him, I could have hurt him … but something in me said, ‘You know what? He just needs love.'”
Courtney begged Furniss for answers: “I had the opportunity to talk to someone who hates my guts and I wanted to know why. During our conversation, I asked him, ‘Why do you hate me? What is it about me? Is it my skin color? My history? My dreadlocks?'”
Courtney reported that Furniss did not answer him and simply stared at him: “After beating around the bush, and avoiding my questions, I asked him, I pleaded with him, I almost broke out in tears, growing increasingly angry because I didn’t understand.”
Refusing to submit to his frustration, Courtney instead embraced Furniss, a heartfelt moment which is now going viral online.
“I reached over and the third time, he wrapped his arms around me, and I heard God whisper in my ear, ‘You changed his life,'” Courtney stated.
“I honestly feel that was a step in the right direction,” Courtney told the New York Daily News. “For him to take a picture with a guy that he hated when he woke up this morning.”