In my New Year’s Eve post, I mentioned that the Humans of New York facebook page and blog was one of my best finds of last year. Its creator, Brandon, walks around all parts of the city, photographing the people he sees, and asking them very poignant questions. His portraits and interviews reveal a deep sense of what it feels like to be human, and creates a common thread of connection amongst us all. One of the best things about this facebook page is that nearly all of the comments (from thousands and thousands of people per post), are kind, supportive, and loving (something unheard of on the internet)!
In the second half of January, I watched the most incredible and inspiring story develop. It all started with the meeting of Vidal.
Just reading these few words about how Principal Lopez values the worth of each of her students made me feel emotional.
Then,a few days later, Brandon found Ms. Lopez! His interview with her made me even more emotional. She and her teachers call their students scholars! And they all wear the color purple to remind them that they come from a lineage of royalty! Wow!
After brainstorming ideas for what was needed the most at this school, Brandon announced a fundraiser to send each one of the students to Harvard University for a visit to show them what existed outside of their crime-ridden neighborhood and what was possible for them if they worked hard enough.
In only a few hours, it raised $185,000!
Not only did donations start to pour in, but individuals sent Ms. Lopez bouquets of flowers! (Purple ones!) Her struggles and fierce dedication and commitment were being recognized at last! I love this photograph!
Enough money was raised so that other needs could be met, as well!
Brandon continued to interview other teachers and students at the school, Vidal, and his mother. Their stories of love and commitment are extremely heartwarming.
Then, they had an assembly to announce to the school what had happened!
And then, as if the story couldn’t get any better, Ms. Lopez admitted that she felt broken and ready to resign before Vidal’s chance meeting with Brandon took place!
The fundraiser has now made over one million dollars, and everything over $700,000 will go to scholarship funds for the students, with Vidal being the first recipient. I am blown away by the events that transpired from one man asking another human being, whom he had never met before, a meaningful question about his life. We all have the potential to positively impact and uplift one another. Brandon is one of my biggest role models in life right now. I want to be like him!
If you don’t already follow this site, I highly recommend that you do!
And if you would like to contribute to this fundraiser, there is still time! It ends on February 10th.