Madison Maxine Larimore, HumanKind Creator, Interviewer, and Writer
I have always had an urgent desire and ardent need to make the world a better place for all of humankind through learning to work together and love, respect, and understand one another, and HumanKind is my brain baby, my creative child, my solution to making that happen.
HumanKind started long ago during my freshman year of high school because I was unhappy. Upon identifying this unhappiness, I asked Google for the secret to happiness and was, of course, bombarded with millions of search results. Soon after, I realized that there is no one answer to happiness, no one answer to any of life’s big questions, because there are billions of us, and each one of us has our own answer, our own unique, valid perspective. Thus I discovered my purpose: to collect perspectives. I started my first perspective-collecting project my sophomore year of high school and named it Soul-Pool. It mostly involved me interviewing close friends and taking many more creative liberties in the pieces I wrote about them, but it was great practice and preparation for what was to come. After graduating high school, I attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha to pursue my Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative nonfiction and a minor in psychology, which has allowed me to dig deeper, develop further, and meet other people who believe in HumanKind’s mission and whose help has been instrumental in its success. This past semester, HumanKind received a Fund for Undergraduate Scholarly Experiences (FUSE) grant from the Office of Research and Creative Activity, which has enabled me to focus my time and energy on HumanKind.
After eight years of reading, researching, ruminating, and most importantly, meeting, talking with, and listening to new people, HumanKind is finally ready for the world, and the world, I think, is ready for HumanKind. I have been so grateful and humbled by this incredible journey, and this is really only the beginning. I can’t wait to meet and get to know all of you, the highest honor and privilege, as we work together to be the best humankind can be, for ourselves, for each other, and for future generations to come.
Thank you, to my friends, family, and mentors who have supported me along the way, and thank you, to you, the person reading this right now. None of this would be possible without you. Humankind wouldn’t be the same without you. We’re glad you are here.
Carlos Leonel Herrarte, HumanKind Photographer
My name is Carlos Leonel Herrarte, and I am one story out of over 7.6 billion stories. To understand why I care so much about human nature and the different perspectives that our kind have to offer, I have to start from the beginning. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and lived there until I was five, which is when we packed up and moved to Lexington, Nebraska. Both of my parents are Guatemalan, which makes me Guatemalan and American, two backgrounds I am very proud to be. My parents have always encouraged me and my siblings to be creative in our own ways. They also taught us to be more sympathetic towards those around us because we don’t know their story. That was one of the most important things they wanted us to learn growing up and something that has helped mold me into the person I am today. As someone who has severe depression and mild anxiety, I have had to use this lesson to help me through my highest points in life and my lowest.
I attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney for six years, but because of my constant need to be learning through experience and not sitting behind a desk, I struggled to attend class, which lead to me dropping out. Since then, my goal is to learn about various things from and through photography, especially what make humans different from other species.
That brings me to the present day and why I am so excited to work with HumanKind. I have always had an interest in learning about human nature and the different perspectives that make up our world. I believe that in order to solve some of the problems our kind is facing, we need to open up our minds and learn as much as we can about us. We are so different from other species because we are a complex operating system that has created different religions, cultures, and civilizations, and we are aware of our emotions. We laugh, we cry, we love, we hate, we fight, and we make peace with each other. We are beyond our basic survival instincts, yet we have created a society that contradicts what we have evolved into. Society states that men aren’t supposed to show emotions and women are supposed to be weaker, mentally and physically, than men. That goes against everything we are. By sharing the stories of the people around us, we can start to change that. I want to show the world that men can and do cry and that women can be stronger than men, because trust me, the women in my life are the strongest people I know. The stories I have come across from both men and women contradict what society teaches us about our genders.
I met Madison at a RAW Artist Showcase, and the moment she approached me about HumanKind and what it stands for, I already knew I wanted to be a part of it; it’s a powerful medium to show the world the different perspectives of the people around us. As a photographer and someone who loves to create, I have always wanted to do something I am passionate about that extends past the realm of photography and into something meaningful. Through HumanKind, I can use my photography in a way that will help our kind thrive in a more positive manner.
To learn more about Carlos and his other photography projects, visit his website, Rhythm of Carlos.
Nick Diaz, HumanKind Editor
The stories we tell shape the world in which we live. Whether filmed or photographed, painted or drawn, spoken or written—the stories we create act as lenses through which we can differently understand the people, places, and things all around us. They open us up to new ways of being.
We’ve told a lot of stories, we humans, but there are a lot of stories that we haven’t told. There are a lot of stories we’ve lost or covered over. But every story is important. Each one is a piece of the puzzle of our existence. Whether those stories are someone’s lived experiences or the fantasies they harbor in their hearts, every one matters. Each one offers a lesson. These lessons are not always pleasant, but we are better for learning them.
My mission is to tell and help tell stories. Stories that teach us about the world and the people in it, and stories that teach us that those two things aren’t so different after all. Because the more people who can imagine a better world and the more people who feel empowered to help make it; the more people who feel they have a voice that can be heard and hands that can take action; the more people who are inspired by the promises we make when we tell stories that challenge the accepted narrative—the more people who are moved by our stories, the more strength we have to make change. I’m honored to help HumanKind do exactly that.
HumanKind is currently based out of Omaha, Nebraska, but we are constantly looking for ways to expand and reach people all over the world. This is just the beginning. Stay tuned!
Interested in joining the team? Connect with us.