“The challenge is not necessarily an easy one. I know this first hand after almost a decade of approaching diverse strangers. I have been hugged, trusted, and listened to by thousands. I have also been screamed at, mocked, spit upon, and physically pushed aside. Yet, in all (and they are the majority) a most remarkable dialogue and result has grown. Proof that even though we have highly varied lifestyles, value systems, and live under different circumstance, a vast number are respecting the rights and dignity of others.”
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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 planet.
My goal was straight-forward: Every day for an entire year, no matter how I felt or where I was, step out of comfort zone 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 – that through rain and sun, from hot to cold, regardless if I was tired, healthy or ill – I never missed a day; and as the challenge progressed, I fell in love with the world.
At first it was slow going, but things dramatically changed in December of 2011 when, unknown to me, WordPress featured my story as one of the top ten daily blogs to follow. Overnight a following of tens grew to a community of thousands; and, as readers, commenters 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, podcasts and outreach advocating a set of balanced perspectives regarding how we view and treat one another. A message that has been welcomed by many I meet and expanded through my writings, broadcasts, presentations and appearances. I guess, in a way, I am an ambassador to a society-connecting call to action. One that is extremely relevant for this chapter in history: Empathy toward others and recognition of one another in face-to-face life—regardless of race, creed, gender, politics, attraction, religion, situation, or status.
An undertaking that I must express a most sincere gratitude and give tremendous credit to all who have, and continue to, bravely step forward in sharing heartfelt and open dialogue. A people vast in origin and outlook who, unknown to each other, have proven the existence of a compassionate majority. A global community of remarkable individuals. Alive and aware in growing respect for neighbor and striving to love themselves for who they are.
A Few Portraits From My Street Interviews