Blogger and photojournalist Brandon Stanton roams the streets of the Big Apple, drawing out strangers' stories. Millions follow Brandon’s daily Humans of New York (HONY) posts on social media, appreciative of his keen recognition of the moving moment or distinguishing detail.
On January 19, Brandon interviewed a young boy in the Brownsville neighborhood:
"Who's influenced you the most in your life?" "My principal, Ms. Lopez." "How has she influenced you?" "When we get in trouble, she doesn't suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter."
Vidal’s account of his relationship with his principal garnered thousands of likes, comments, and shares—and quickly. The social media post “took off” right away (by now it has accumulated more than a million Facebook “likes” and more than 20,000 comments). Many wondered, who was this Ms. Lopez—and what New York Public school did Vidal attend? The answers weren’t long in coming, as HONY launched a series of portraits in Brownsville.
In a Washington Post blog entry last week, Barnett Berry analyzed Brandon's coverage of Mott Hall Bridges Academy (and his followers' reactions), probing the phenomenon for what it reveals about today's school accountability systems. Check it out—and don't miss Brandon's response in the comments section!