Not long after September 11, 2001 a New York City campaign drew upon the strength shown by many New Yorkers who stepped up to help one another immediately following the attacks – and in the days, weeks, months, and years that followed. The City affirmed “We are all in this together.”
In 2011, ten years later, Prepare New York invited New Yorkers to reach out to their neighbors and say, “We are STILL in this together.” Prepare New York asked neighborhood partners to hold one or more “Coffee Hour Conversations” in which New Yorkers came together during a time of continued grief and healing: to hear and share reflection; and for education, discussion, and collaboration. The conversations promoted peace among the city’s residents by celebrating religious pluralism, and by building interpersonal connection. Events were organized by Prepare New York’s six founding organizations, by many of Prepare New York’s 100 organizational and congregational partners, and by allies across the City and around the country.
Participants moved beyond tolerance to relationship: some for the “event” moment, and some for longer-lasting collaboration. Hard stories were shared. Inaccuracies about specific communities were corrected. Solidarity was forged, including with the Muslim and Sikh communities who continue to suffer violence and harassment because of unfair and false assignments of blame in connection with 9/11.
Funding was provided by One NYC One Nation and the New York Council for the Humanities. Special advice and participation came from September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows and the 9/11 Community for Common Ground Initiative.
Study and talk: fact sheets, discussion questions, and discussion guides prepared for Prepare New York by the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding are available for download here.
Watch the film We the People and discuss.
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