Brandon Stanton, the creative genius behind Humans of New York, broke his political silence in the wake of the rise of Trump because, as he says, “I realize now that there is no correct time to oppose violence and prejudice. The time is always now.”

Stanton has long remained neutral when it comes to his subjects’ stories and points of view when interviewing them, allowing the people he photographs to tell their own stories. He has served the streets of New York City but also done tours with the UN to interview refugees in several Middle Eastern nations and even those awaiting their new homes in the United States, as his letter mentions. The stories he publishes, accompanied with telling photographs, have not only been read by millions of followers but they have strongly affected those who can relate to the subjects and opened the mind of many who didn’t know so many issues are faced by other people daily.

Oftentimes readers are inspired by the stories and ask if there is any way that they can help, and Brandon is able to connect these humans to great resources. Humans of New York famously aided in raising $1 million for a school in Brooklyn with low-income students to visit Harvard annually, host a summer program, and start a scholarship fund. This all began when Stanton interviewed a student at that school and asked him who inspires him, to which the student replied that his own principal inspired him. HONY also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Syrian refugee families entering the U.S. and $2 million to an organization in Pakistan that is actively working to end forced labor.

To say that Stanton is well-qualified enough to remark on the rise of Trump and how Trump himself is the hateful, hurtful one would be an understatement. Stanton’s efforts more than speak for themselves, and it appears as though this photo-journalist turned activist simply couldn’t remain silent for long. Read below for the full open letter to Donald Trump:

An Open Letter to Donald Trump:
Mr. Trump,
I try my hardest not to be political. I’ve refused to interview several of your fellow candidates. I didn’t want to risk any personal goodwill by appearing to take sides in a contentious election. I thought: ‘Maybe the timing is not right.’ But I realize now that there is no correct time to oppose violence and prejudice. The time is always now. Because along with millions of Americans, I’ve come to realize that opposing you is no longer a political decision. It is a moral one.
I’ve watched you retweet racist images. I’ve watched you retweet racist lies. I’ve watched you take 48 hours to disavow white supremacy. I’ve watched you joyfully encourage violence, and promise to ‘pay the legal fees’ of those who commit violence on your behalf. I’ve watched you advocate the use of torture and the murder of terrorists’ families. I’ve watched you gleefully tell stories of executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood. I’ve watched you compare refugees to ‘snakes,’ and claim that ‘Islam hates us.’
I am a journalist, Mr. Trump. And over the last two years I have conducted extensive interviews with hundreds of Muslims, chosen at random, on the streets of Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. I’ve also interviewed hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi refugees across seven different countries. And I can confirm— the hateful one is you.
Those of us who have been paying attention will not allow you to rebrand yourself. You are not a ‘unifier.’ You are not ‘presidential.’ You are not a ‘victim’ of the very anger that you’ve joyfully enflamed for months. You are a man who has encouraged prejudice and violence in the pursuit of personal power. And though your words will no doubt change over the next few months, you will always remain who you are.

Brandon Stanton

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