The Facebook page Humans of New York has certainly proved what people can do with strength in numbers. Photographer Brandon has been capturing macro stories of people’s lives across the world through pictures and quotes from the subject. Whether it’s a sassy kid jumping in a puddle in New York City or a man in his 80s who just lost his wife, Humans of New York, which has spread across the globe since its inception, has brought happiness to many lives.
For instance, earlier in the year, HONY and its millions of readers donated $1 million for a Brooklyn public school’s trip to Harvard. That’s just one story that HONY has its hand in after Brandon’s photograph goes viral. There are countless others, and there’s about to be one more.
Now, actor Edward Norton wants to get in on giving back thanks to one particular post from HONY. The post is both touching and relevant given the current political climate in America regarding Syrian refugees.
— Al Bawaba Loop (@AlBawaba_loop) December 13, 2015
In a series of photographs, HONY presented a blog post featuring several Syrian refugees. In one post, a Syrian scientist appeared. The scientist is a father of two who fell on hard times when his wife and six members of his family were killed when an anti-personnel missile entered the family’s home in Syria. The scientist was forced to go to Turkey along with his two children.
The scientist explained that his daughter was studying to become a doctor and his son is “the smartest in his school.”
He went on to say, “We were well known in the community. Nobody had a problem with us. We had no affiliation with any party or regime. Everyone loved us, honestly. We survived, but we’re dead psychologically. Everything ended for us that day. That was our destiny. That was our share in life.”
Unfortunately, he’s also struggling from stomach cancer and now sells building designs to provide for his two children.
Despite all of this grief, the scientist said, “I still think I have a chance to make a difference in the world.”
His story touched actor Edward Norton so much that he decided to email Brandon from HONY. Norton said he was “moved to tears” by the story and sprang into action by starting a CrowdRise campaign for the scientist and his family. The site features Brandon’s photos from HONY of the man and his two children, along with the quotes used by the scientist that went along with each photo.
— Carbonated.TV (@CarbonatedTV) December 14, 2015
On the Crowdrise, Norton stated the following.
“This man has suffered profound loss that would crush the spirit of many people and yet he still passionately wants a chance to contribute positively to the world. If we don’t welcome people like this into our communities and empower his dream of making an impact with his life, then we’re not the country we tell ourselves we are. Let’s reject the ‘anti-human’ voices that tell us to fear refugees and show this man and his family what Americans are really made of. Let’s show that a country built by the energy and dreams of immigrants still believes in brave people who come here with hope for better life.”
So far, the fundraiser has raised $405,261 dollars that will benefit the scientist’s family.
This story even got the attention of President Barack Obama, saying that the scientist’s story was “part of what makes America great.”
[Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images]