“The challenge proposed is not necessarily an easy one. I know this first hand after approaching thousands of strangers. I have been hugged, trusted and listened to. Yet, I have also been screamed at, mocked, spit upon, and physically pushed aside. But, all in all, those who chose to engage in dialogue (and they are the majority) noticeably recognized one another as equally human. Proof that, even though we live via diverse lifestyles, value systems and circumstance; a vast number are respecting that same right for others.”
It all started September 9, 2011 when I embarked on a journey that not only redefined the course of my life, but also, touched the minds and hearts of a diverse majority. I called it Project-365, a daily blog that ultimately brought together people from all corners of the world.
My goal was straight-forward, “Every day for an entire year, no matter how I felt, get out of myself to approach absolute strangers; asking if they would allow me to interview, photograph and publish their responses to a common set of questions. 365 consecutive days– through rain and sun, from hot to cold, regardless if I was tired, healthy or ill, I missed none; and as I did, I fell in love with the world around me.
At first it was slow going, but things dramatically changed December 2011, when, unknown to me, WordPress featured my story as one of the top ten daily blog projects to follow. Overnight an audience of tens grew to community of thousands; and, as readers and subscribers from all parts of the globe took notice, a movement was born.
Since then, I’ve continued to author and publish hundreds of essays, photo narratives, videos and outreach advocating a set of balanced perspectives regarding how we view and treat one another. A message that has been welcomed by the many I meet and expanded through my presentations and appearances. I guess, in a way I am an ambassador to a society connecting call to action: Empathy toward co-human.
A task I share a most sincere gratitude and give tremendous credit to all those who are growing their love of neighbor as they strive to love themselves for whom they are. For without their inspiration, work and example, Sidewalk Ghosts (and all that goes with it) would have no foundation.