Humans of New York (HONY) is a photographic blog, and hands down some of the most amazing media on the Internet at the moment. In a simplistically genius way, HONY has captured the complicated mixture of emotions that accompanies the joy and misery of living in New York City, or any large city for that matter.
Despite being surrounded by millions of other people, it's easy for a person to feel lonely in NYC. Many people feel like just another face in a crowd of strangers, a voice unheard. In the midst of this perpetual rat race, people yearn for human connection. It's likely that many individuals in major cities across the world share these sentiments.
Through photographs and arbitrary anecdotes about people's lives, Humans of New York has granted a voice to the common New Yorker. It has revealed the story behind the millions of unfamiliar faces people pass by every day on the street or subway.
It has allowed New Yorkers to broadcast their hopes and dreams, their most painful moments and their greatest triumphs. Most of all, HONY has shown that you don't have to be famous to be important. Every human life has value, and all of us are more interesting than we might even begin to realize. We all have a story to tell.
HONY has filled people with hope, and the knowledge that no matter how small you feel, other people are experiencing many of the same experiences.
Recently, Brandon Stanton, the man behind HONY, embarked upon a world tour.
Working in conjunction with the United Nations, he is on a 50-day trip across 10 countries. In 2000, UN member states committed to accomplishing eight goals by 2015, dubbed Millennium Development Goals. Stanton's trip is meant to raise awareness of said goals, including eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.
However, perhaps the most important product of Stanton's global expedition is the way in which it humanizes individuals in nations that are so frequently stigmatized or ignored.
He's already been to Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran and Jordan. Eventually, Stanton will head to Vietnam, India, and Haiti, among other places.
On his blog, Stanton wrote, "The point of the trip is not to say anything about the world. But rather to visit some faraway places, and listen to as many people as possible."
For people in the United States, the blog likely reveals how much they have in common with people around the world, even those in developing countries. While it's true that most Americans live decidedly easier lives than these individuals, all people are dealing with many of the same struggles: making money for rent and food, getting a business going, dealing with lost love, trying to get an education.
When it comes down to it, people are people, no matter where they are from. We all just want to live free and happy lives, regardless of where we are in the world. This is often forgotten in stereotypical portrayals of different countries in the media. It's important to remember this, so that we can begin to break down both the physical and mental barriers we have built between nations across the globe.
It's also important for people in America to remember how privileged they are. While everyone has a right to voice their struggles, it's helpful to remember that it could always be worse.
People in the United States are not engulfed by war and violence, for example, as many people in Iraq are. Stanton's blog highlights this tragic disparity. Moreover, it shows that we are all part of a global society, and that no one can stand idly by while people across the world are suffering.
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