In a world that is consistently being spread apart, which seems to ring especially true lately, Humans of New York, created by photojournalist Brandon Stanton, brings a sense of inspiration and community unlike anything I have ever witnessed. When Brandon lost his daytime job trading bonds, he tookÂ his passion of photography to the streets of New York in the summer of 2010. The last few years has led him onÂ an amazing and awe-inspiring journey tellingÂ thousands of New Yorkers’ stories. HisÂ 17 millions+ followers have related to these stories, empathizing with those they may normally dismiss, and showing compassion in a world that far too often lacks it.
There is a lesson to be learned in every story Brandon tells, no matter how small, but below are some snippets of the powerful stories he has shared.
New York, NY â€” May 6, 2014
Lesson: You have no idea how a homeless person couldâ€™ve ended up on the street. We walk past them everyday without blinking an eye, yet it is a misfortune that can happen to any of us. Instead of judging them, we should be coming together to help them.
New York, NY â€”Â January 24, 2015
Lesson: There are often unique challenges facing a school in an under-served community, but these students must be made to understand that they deserve success despite the obstacles they face. Ms. Lopez, a teacher at Mott Hall Bridges Academy, transforms the lives of her students every single day, including Vidal, who began this series. There are many heroes in the shadows of adversity. In January of 2015, HONY raised $1.4 million to provide summer programs, college trips, and scholarships to students at Mott Hall Bridges Academy. Earlier this year, the students took their first class trip to Harvard. This summer, they participated in a new summer enrichment program featuring such courses as horticulture, financial literacy, and social justice. Oh, and the motivated student and dedicated teacher both got to meet President Obama in the White House. #BrownsvilleBrilliance indeed.
Istanbul, TurkeyÂ â€”Â December 8, 2015
Lesson: A refugee is not someone who is going to pick up a gun and ruin the country that theyÂ are fleeing to. In a series focused on the Syrian refugee crisis, HONY brought humanity and courage to a movement that so many of the world is adamantly against. Refugees CAN be educated and WANT to make a difference in the world, yet their countries circumstances have greatly affected these goals. They flee for the hope and promise of a better life â€” true bravery coupled with unfounded resilience. HONY raised $750,000 to assist 13Â Syrian refugee families selected for American resettlement.
Lahore, Pakistan â€”Â August 16, 2015Â
Lesson: No matter what your circumstance may be in, you can make a huge difference in fighting for the lives and freedoms of other people. Pakistan is oftenÂ viewed for its terrorism and wars, but there is much more to this country than the media shows. Her admirers knowÂ Syeda Ghulam Fatima as Pakistanâ€™s Harriet Tubman because sheÂ has worked tirelessly to eradicate bonded labor â€” one of the last remaining forms of modern slavery. In August 2015, HONY raised $2.3 million to help Syeda’s quest to end bonded labor in Pakistan. She now plans to break ground on a new Freedom Center in 2016 to shelter and rehabilitate freed workers. Since the fundraiser, 105 slaves have been freed with the assistance of Syeda’sÂ Bonded Labour Liberation Front, including one that was featured on HONY. Earlier this year, the Clinton Global Initiative chose SyedaÂ for its Global Citizen Award. An extraordinary Pakistani citizen made known to the world for her heroism through the eyes of HONY.
HONY represents every story with a facet of humanity that is often in a light unspoken and unthought of. In what started out to be only New Yorkers’ stories, Brandon has developed the uncanny ability to bring the world together through his photos and teach us lessons that change the way we treat and look at humans around us. Every single person you meet has a story to tell that is worthwhile and inspiring. To preach love and compassion, and not hatred and violence, proves that there is a world of difference that can be made in the human heart and mind.