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13-Year-Old Paints Exonerated 5 On His Backpack

When Tyler Gordon couldn't find the ideal backpack to kickstart a new school year, he decided to make his own.

Tyler is a 13-year-old boy with a passion for painting and equally deep admiration for societal heroes. The Exonerated 5 being a group he's looked up to since Ava DuVernay's When They See Us. Getting the opportunity to meet Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise at this past BET Awards only fueled his love for the men who didn't allow adversity to, "bring their whole lives down." Something Tyler can relate to since he was born deaf and didn't have his breakthrough surgery until he was six.

Back-to-school shopping hit a snag when the junior high student couldn't find a specific backpack he wanted. Refusing to accept defeat, he got a white one and painted the faces of the five men on it based on a Googled image by Serygraphy.

The eight grader told Because of Them We Can:

โ€œI chose to paint them on my backpack so that kids at my school and other adults would be reminded of what happened to them.โ€

His mother, Nicole Kindle, faces the uncomfortable truth of the society she's bringing her son up in. Having to have "the talk" isn't a part of child raising she looked forward to. However, Nicole expressed pride in having such an awe-inspiring one.

โ€œIโ€™m extremely proud of him. He took his gifts that he was blessed with and [is] using them to raise awareness for the things going on in the world.โ€

Take a peek at some more creations by this amazing middle schooler.

Photos: Because of Them We Can & Tyler Gordon Instagram (@official_tylergordon)