I think it’s safe to say that we have all heard of the famous Facebook and Instagram page, Humans of New York (HONY). Brandon Stanton is the man behind this famous photo project in which he gathers portaits of New Yorkers, and tells their intimate stories through various social media outlets. To say he caught the public’s attention is an understatement. With more than 4.8 million followers on his Instagram page, and over 16.7 likes on his Facebook page, he is an internet sensation that demands stories to be heard. However, Brandon is doing more than just sharing stories and receiving recognition.
Brandon Stanton is an Advocate. He aims to represent and work with individuals or groups of people who need support and encouragement to exercise human rights and help them demand equality from oppressing forces. He listens deeply to these individuals, and uses his fame as a platform to get people talking about the issues that no one wants to discuss. More recently, Brandon Stanton started an online fundraiser after picturing 11 Syrian refugees and their stories on Instagram and Facebook. The refugees outlined their struggles on being and becoming a refugee, and the sacrifices it took to get there.
One man said, “We have nothing left in Syria. I want to continue working as a doctor in America. Here my hands are tied. Refugees are not allowed to work. I don’t have papers. I can’t communicate with anyone. I worked my entire life to become a doctor. I did nothing but study for 6 years. I didn’t even have a hobby. Now I’m doing nothing. I’m losing hope. I’ve started to wonder whether it would have been better to go the illegal way across the sea.”
After Brandon posted these stories, in three days, he was able to raise $700,000 for Syrian Refugees.
He wrote in the Generosity page:
“They will be starting at zero in a new country. In addition to the culture shock, they will face innumerable obstacles, including the need to learn an entirely new language. They have escaped a horrible war, and have finally secured a degree of safety and security, but the road will be very tough for them. As they attempt to get their footing, they will be provided with little more than the bare minimum needed to subsist. Thanks to blog readers’ generosity, there is now enough to give each refugee family over $65,000 to aid their resettlement.The money raised will be shared out among the 11 families profiled on the site, and if any of the families refuse the money, their share will be given to a resettlement charity.”