Who hasn't yet heard about Humans of New York? (Note: My roommate asked me, "What's that? A game?" so you're off the hook if you don't know what I'm talking about!)
To give you the quick synopsis if your newsfeed hasn't already been filled with talk about the #HONY craze, Human of New York's creator and visionary Brandon Stanton started to post the now-famous incredibly raw portrait shots of the people of New York with accompanying quotes--oftentimes so very sobering, inspirational, and always real.
Harvard hosted Brandon for the day as he came to speak to students and answer questions at our school's John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, held at the Institute of Politics.
|Ryley Reynolds ('15) & Vanessa Pham ('16) waiting for Brandon Stanton to arrive!|
We shared with Brandon a copy of Harvard Student Agencies' new coffee table publication, Life in Crimson (get it here!) a book that captures the Harvard spirit from a student perspective. Life in Crimson echoes the mission of HONY on Harvard's campus, and Brandon was ecstatic when he received a copy. "This will be on my coffee table," said Brandon.
Brandon's warm demeanor and optimistic outlook shone through in all the comments he made and questions he asked. He encouraged all of the burgeoning artists in the crowd with his comment that "if you can appreciate beauty, you're an artist," and exhibited his incredible humility, admitting that he knows his photography isn't the best, but that he loves talking to people, hearing their stories, and sharing those snippets with HONY's supporters.
HONY has become a cultural phenomenon, spawning several spin-off series including Humans of Boston, Portraits of America, Humans of Dubai, and the like. Most recently, he collaborated with the United Nations to advocate for the Millennium Development Goals abroad and traveled across 10 different countries to do what he does best: listen to the voices of the people he meets.
But with that being said, Brandon's roots are back in the U.S., and has recently launched a successful new campaign in collaboration with Mott Hall Bridges Academy, an underprivileged middle school is Brownsville, Brooklyn. It all started with Vidal's story and the influence of his principal, Ms. Lopez. In a matter of days, the publicity had raised over a million dollars to fund summer programs and a trip to Harvard University for the next ten years, based on Ms. Lopez's belief that "“I want every child who enters my school to know that they can go anywhere, and that they will belong."
We're glad we can share in HONY's vision to give a voice to the people, and we're looking forward to welcoming the students of Mott Hall Bridges Academy to our campus for many years to come!