September 11, 2001 changed the US forever. A total of 2,977 lives were lost in New York City, Washington, DC, and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and thousands more were injured. Many more first responders and civilians alike battled illnesses believed to stem from the contaminated air at or around the site, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
Twenty years ago, the lives of everyone in the U.S. (if not around the world) changed. Lives were lost, families were broken, and the unknown loomed over us. Additionally, many individuals and communities in this country continued to suffer the consequences of that day as they found themselves the targets of a rise in Islamophobia. Sometimes people have acted out of fear and misinformation.
As we take this day to remember, honor and reflect, let’s also reaffirm our commitment to facing our own fears of the unknown, and the biases we may have against people who are different from us. One of VISIONS’ tenets is embracing multiculturalism (as opposed to monoculturalism or even pluralism). We invite you to commemorate this day by acknowledging and appreciating our respective differences. If we let them, our differences as a profoundly diverse nation of people can be a source of strength — as people who value each other without judgment, and as a society where each person can contribute, be accepted, and be embraced as their full self.
Every day, we remember the victims, families, and survivors dealing with loss , and recognize the lasting consequences of 9/11 on individual lives and on our collective experience.
A day we will never forget– and which can serve as a reminder of who we want to be.
– Elika Dadsetan-Foley, Executive Director