On a sunny Saturday in May, a “Humans of” team of 12 volunteers hit the streets to talk to more Calgarians and share their stories with the 18k followers of the Humans of Calgary Facebook page.
The popular “Humans of New York” Facebook page (now with over 17.5 million likes) has inspired grassroots “Humans of” initiatives in cities around the world, including ours. The purpose of these initiatives is to “show there is beauty here in this city, on your block, in your neighbourhood. Wherever you are, there are amazing people; they might even be your neighbour,” says Mark Reierson, Editor in Chief of Humans of Calgary.
Thanks to a partnership formed in late 2015 with Calgary Centre for Global Community, Reierson is excited to have the resources needed to build a volunteer team behind the project. He explains, “As far I know, we are the only project that has so many people directly involved in a single city. It is exciting to see the different perspectives, views and talents the team members bring.”
One such volunteer, Precious de Leon, a professional journalist who participated in the first cohort training this Spring was attracted to the project because she saw the chance to combine two things that drive her, connecting with people and storytelling. “I see Calgary as a city with many layers. It has a rich tapestry of stories that continues to grow and evolve. Humans of Calgary reminds us we all have an important part to play in the city's narrative. There's something beautiful about putting a spotlight on stories of resilience, growth, and personal battles won and lost that don't make the headlines but equally resonate with our own experiences.”
Having had hundreds of conversations with strangers through various street photography projects, Reierson sees the project as “an outlet to connect to people” and as “a way to unplug from the virtual world and create a space for someone, look them in the eye and communicate, person to person.”
The Humans of Calgary volunteer team met completed eight interviews in the Kensington/ Sunnyside area on May 14th, 2016, and is planning another group walkabout during Stampede this July.
Keep an eye on www.facebook.com/humansofcalgary over the next couple of months to read their stories!