Inspired by Humans of New York: a photography project that began in 2010 in an attempt to capture 10,000 New Yorkers on the street and create an exhaustive catalog of the lives and spirits of its inhabitants. Today, HONY reaches over 20 million people and provides a worldwide audience with a daily glimpse into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City.
Grassroots campaigns like I-732’s are comprised of many people who get involved because they see something beautiful in the world worth fighting for. These are some of their stories…
My dream is to be a civil attorney because I feel like the court system in America could be improved. The way I see it, the court system is a battle of how much money you’re willing to spend because most cases close if you can no longer pay your attorney. Low income people usually go to jail because they don’t have an attorney to represent them properly and I want to help them because I know how it feels to be in trouble at times. It’s not the same but back in middle school, I felt I was in deep trouble internally because I had no friends. I felt lonely and hopeless. It was hard for me to feel motivated because I felt like I didn’t have help. I want to be a civil attorney, a criminal attorney or anything in the justice system so that I can help others.
If civil law doesn’t work out, then I want to major in biology. When I was younger, I used to like playing in the dirt. I’m naturally curious and love learning about how things work. I like learning about plants, animals and how they are biologically different from one another and how and why they function the way they do. I like learning about our planet, but I don’t think I’ll have much to learn about when so many animals and plants are going extinct because of global warming. It’s all going away and there is so much science and data to show how real the effects of climate change is having on our environment but it seems like people still don’t believe it’s real or just don’t act on it. Climate change is going to ruin the environment and kill so many people and I want myself and my family, present and future to be alive to experience what life has to offer. If I-732 is going to protect both future generations and the environment from climate change, then wouldn’t it make sense that we all vote for it? We’re running out of time to do something and in the long run, I-732 is going to help so much. I want to be alive to do everything I want to do, so of course I’m going to vote for it. ◼ Ricky Huang is a freshman at the University of Washington.
“One of the biggest things that frustrate me are people misunderstanding the Black Lives Matter movement. There are so many young black men dying because of police brutality and the fact that people undermine it and criminalize the victims instead of getting upset that people are dying at an alarming rate… That should upset people more. I try to understand why people don’t get the movement but it’s frustrating as a black Muslim that people think we’re inciting violence. It drives me crazy when people think a person’s life matters less than a robbery or a riot. I dream of a day where we can all live in harmony and support each other.”
“I hope to become a nurse because I’ve seen how much nurses do in healthcare around the world and I just want to close the close the gap that people of color face in health and the disparities they go through. I want to be in health care because I have diabetes in my family and I want to understand how to better care for them and understand it. The fact that people living in South Seattle are more likely to develop asthma, cancer, and other skin related diseases because of the bad air pollution and where we’re located makes me mad. It’s so frustrating to know that where I live puts me at a disadvantage in health and it feels like no one was changing that until I-732. It’s so hard to take care of ourselves even with Obamacare because healthcare is still so expensive. I just want people to know that climate change affects poor people of color disproportionately because of where we live and our financial circumstances. Climate change is going to change Seattle so much. It’s going to change the whole world. The world is so beautiful and even though there’s so much chaos, there’s so much greenery and snow. The way the world is built is so amazing. I’m so grateful that I’m able to walk around and breathe in fresh air and be surrounded by the great northwest and can hike in the mountains. 50-100 years from now, it won’t be available. It’ll be gone and it makes me so frustrated that we’re not doing anything! It’s like telling someone that their house is going to be on fire three days from now and they’re not preparing. There’s so many facts and science to back it up and people still choose to ignore it for reasons that don’t make sense!” ◼ Fatuma Mahmud is a sophomore at the University of Washington.
“I recently went on a field trip to Garfield high school for the Microsoft World cup and Microsoft literally gave Garfield $100,000 with tablets and that really upset me. Garfield has so much more money than Franklin and any other South end school. There are a ton of smart kids in the South end that deserve that $100,000. I’m just really confused as to why big companies continue to fund high schools that are already well funded with good programs and don’t support schools in the south end that are struggling to help all their students. It pains me and puts a chip in my shoulder when low income students like me don’t get the same opportunities as students at Garfield. One day, when I make a decent income, I want to give back to my community. Especially Franklin high school because if a school is low funded, then it can’t afford better teachers, materials and classes for its students. I also want to give back to my parents because I’m the first person in my family to go to college. Getting a college degree means a lot because it tells you that you accomplished something significant. You accomplished something that your parents worked tirelessly for. My parents worked their asses off for me to get an education and hopefully one day get a better job than them. On paper, it’s just a college degree, but for me it means so much more. It means I can give back to my family and community financially.”
“My favorite thing to do outdoors is hiking. The enjoyment of exercising and pushing your body to the limit and then have a rewarding view at the top is everything! It’s like you start a quest at the bottom of the mountain and then when you get to the peak, you feel accomplished. But Climate change is going to destroy everything. The mountain terrain, the ecosystems that house all the plants and organisms. Instead of beautiful scenery at the top of the hill, you’ll see dry dirt. Climate change gets worse each year. The world will get hotter and storms will get more severe, which will result in an exponential increase rate of deaths. Especially people of low income in my neighborhood, they will have to worry about the severity of the weather and will need to worry about climate obstacles and will face more hardships than others that are more privileged. On a personal level it makes me feel horrible and lose hope for the future. Because knowing that as time goes on, as climate change progresses, the future generations will have to clean up these messes. I feel like the world needs to do something about climate change now or myself and future generations will be doomed.” ◼ Yong Kang Zhou is a Senior at Franklin High School.
“When I see the divide from the north end and south end, I notice that north end people are often born with a lot of money. South end people really have to work for it and even if we really work for it, we might not be able to afford housing or the things we want because Seattle’s rent prices are going up. My family can barely stay in our house because the prices are so high… My financial situation is crappy and it makes me want to grow up quicker so I can get a job and help my mom pay bills. My family has always been really frugal because we don’t have that much money to begin with which is why I always try not to spend too much money.”
“I want to be an athletic trainer because I love sports. I get injured a lot and it’s inspired me to become an athletic trainer to prevent injuries since I hate seeing people injured and having to sit out a game. I’ve had to sit out for cross country meets and Frisbee games and I’ve been through pain for cross country. I don’t want to see that for people. That job doesn’t pay a lot… I love athletic training but if it’s for the family, I might have to look for another passion, but I can’t see myself doing anything but sports. My favorite thing to do is exercise, indoors and outdoors. I like seeing green scenery and breathing fresh air because I love nature. It makes me sad because climate change will ruin the fresh air and when it gets too hot, it will kill plants and create so many forest fires. A lot of people say that they don’t care about taking care of the environment because in 70-80 years, they’re going to be dead. They won’t have to deal with it so they really don’t care about future generations.” ◼ Penny Nguyen is a freshman at South Central Community College.