Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Citizenship

With a handful of stories, HONY does more for refugee crisis than a thousand op-eds

UNICEF/Tomislav Georgiev

It’s not like the refugee crisis hitting Europe has spawned over night. It’s been raging for years. Conflicts have caused millions of people to flee their homes and perilously seek refuge in Europe and elsewhere.

But widespread coverage of the tragedy has only happened in the past several months. I’m not disparaging the many op-eds and reports on the crisis. All that I’ve read has been impassioned and eloquent and informative.  

Even still, there seems to be a dull reaction from the public. The full tenor of the tragedy has not fully registered. If it had, then millions of people would be clamoring to open their homes and their hearts to these wounded, forgotten people.

But the tide may be changing.

Once again, the photographer Brandon Stanton is trying to unify the world with his intensely intimate blog Humans of New York or HONY.

His latest series on refugees, in partnership with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has shifted his 15 million + followers' focus towards the global crisis.

The stories have put the crisis in sharper relief than anything I’ve read so far.

They are so unimaginably sad and powerful. I hope they ignite broad support and action--how could anyone sit indifferent in the face of such human tragedy?

Muhammed opened the series. I encourage you to read his 6-part story on HONY’s Facebook page. This story, unlike others, has a happy ending, even if it was forged in darkness.  

“The island we landed on was called Samothrace. We were so thankful to be there. We thought we’d reached safety. We...

Posted by Humans of New York on Sunday, September 27, 2015

“My husband and I sold everything we had to afford the journey. We worked 15 hours a day in Turkey until we had enough...

Posted by Humans of New York on Monday, September 28, 2015

“I wish I could have done more for her. Her life has been nothing but struggle. She hasn’t known many happy moments. ...

Posted by Humans of New York on Monday, September 28, 2015

“There is no security in Baghdad. We lived in constant fear. We started receiving text messages one day. They said: ‘...

Posted by Humans of New York on Tuesday, September 29, 2015

“A friend called me at work and told me that a sniper had shot my youngest brother. I rushed to the clinic and he was...

Posted by Humans of New York on Thursday, October 1, 2015

“My father was a farmer and we had eight siblings. I went to Australia when I was fifteen because my family didn’t have...

Posted by Humans of New York on Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I also encourage you to go the original source of this material, UNHCR, and view some of their content around this vital issue.

"My family and I escaped from the war in Syria. Our home was destroyed. Now all eight of us live in this tent."Please...

Posted by UNHCR on Friday, September 25, 2015

The formula behind HONY is simple and has been with us since the dawn of time: simply listening to another's story, recognizing that each human is unique.

When you forfeit preconceptions, pause for a few moments and open yourself up to the possibility of other possibilities, then empathy is unleashed and your perspective can change. 

This is what HONY does. My perspective has been altered countless times by his brief yet indelible profiles. It brings me out of my own trivial concerns and reminds me of the broader world. This latest series on refugees has caused me to see the suffering of reugees more clearly than ever before. 

It has also convinced me that this suffering does not have to happen. These people's lives do not have to be shattered. The world must rally together to heal this crisis and provide assistance. 

You can TAKE ACTION NOW by calling on European leaders to provide asylum to far more refugees.