First off, I'm currently drinking Starbucks Christmas tea blend, the one called Joy, and it is truly joyous. I just thought you all should know. I'm so glad I remembered to buy a box this year, because I forgot last year and it haunted my dreams...
Now on to the actual post. For all that I have missed in this past semester, there are a couple of things I managed to keep following throughout my time in school. US Women's Soccer is one, but I've already talked about that here. The other main thing that has been keeping me connected to this world has been Humans of New York, and their story posts.
I love stories. The importance of story has been one of those recurring themes in my life. I think everything you could ever say is way more powerful when you put it into a story. Especially when it's someone who has been traditionally marginalized in popular culture.
Which is why HONY is so important right now. Brandon, the guy who runs it, took a trip a few months ago to take pictures and tell the stories of Syrian Refugees, in Greece and Germany. Now, he's running a series about refugees who are slated to come to the US, most of whom have spent years getting through all the paperwork and red tape involved. Their stories are heartbreaking. Real, raw, and absolutely wonderful. They bring the humanity back into this huge political issue.
That's the power of story. To bring humanity back where it has been lost. People relate to stories. You read a story, and you put yourself in that person's shoes. You start asking yourself, what would I have done in that situation? How would I feel if that had happened to me? It makes it much more difficult to talk about this major problem as if these weren't ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS whose lives will be affected by your rhetoric.
I encourage everyone to check out HONY. Read the stories. Enjoy the slice of humanity presented there (because even when he's not talking about hot-button topics, he is dedicated to showing the humanity of everyone he photographs). Let yourself think about what it would be like, if you were in their shoes. Then go back and read his series from Pakistan, which is wonderful.