If you haven’t been exposed to the Humans of New York Facebook page yet (perhaps you live under a rock, or perhaps you don’t care for social media), then you should definitely check it out! I think that the admins of the page are doing really wonderful work.
We’ve talked in class about a couple strains of thought that are relevant to HONY:
- The idea that we are the stories we tell/you believe you can BE what you SEE
- How do I–lil’ ole me–change the world?
The HONY page is addressing both of these concepts/questions. it seems to have started as a photography project, just looking to capture the variety of the human species residing in New York City. However, it has developed into a platform for the unheard, the unseen, the unacknowledged. It is telling stories that we need to hear.
HONY has posted stories–in the featured human’s own words, mind you–from all sorts! Businessmen/women, artists, the homeless, the addicted, single fathers, super powered moms, kindergarteners, native people, immigrants, Americans, refugees, white people, people of color, LGBTQA people, seriously… all kinds of people. The only requirement to get on the page is that the admin has to see you on the street of NY (usually) and think that you look/seem like you might have a story to tell.
However, Brandon (site’s admin according to the “About” section) has also done some more focused series on the site. He’s documented “microfashion”–how little kids dress themselves. He recently did a series on Syrian refugees, those currently in the States, as well as those in the process of trying to gain entry. He even created this petition for a particular Syrian refugee whose request for asylum had been denied.
(Please read Aya’s testimonies (December and November 2015 on HONY), and watch this video)
Currently, it looks like he is doing a really poignant series on inmates at different correctional facilities.
All in all, the importance of a page like this is clear. Humans of New York is giving a voice to ALL TYPES of narratives, and making it clear that there are all kinds of ways of living. Some are good, some are bad, most are somewhere in between. As more narratives are given a space, we believe more kinds of lives are possible, and thus–they are.