My youngest daughter, Lizabeth, called Saturday night to tell me about her dorm in New York City. She’s attending Pace University, the closest university to Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. Her room overlooks a lovely patch of green where she hopes to spot people walking their puppies.
But also Ground Zero, where construction continues on the new World Trade Center. Lizabeth has long lamented much of the country’s singular focus on death and destruction in the aftermath of 9/11.
She’s focused on the future, eager to see hope and healing rise from the earth so shattered by hatred and loss. She’ll be witness to rebuilding of the World Trade Center each time she looks out her window and strolls the streets of Lower Manhattan.
While most of the events taking place in NYC this week are centered on the tragic losses wrought by 9/11, which we must all take care to remember collectively and alone, many reflect that yearning I see in Lizabeth to move from what has been to what can be. From the tragedy of destruction to the triumph of diversity.
The “91111 Moving Forward Project” invited children eight to 14 to take and upload photographs that “show New York as a city of diversity and forward movement, even during tragedy.” Accepted works are being displayed online and at various NYC locations through Sept 30. (www.notestrokes.com)
“The underlying purpose of the project is to impart things that are positive to young people that have been growing up in New York City since 9/11,” reflects project founder Thomas Riedl. “Young people that have been exposed to many negatives since then.”
The Pace University community will be participating in 9/11-related events in coming days, including several that are open to the public — photography exhibits, symposia, an oral history project and a memorial service. (www.pace.edu/paceremembers911)
They’ll also remember four students and 43 alumni lost to 9/11 — with a reading of names, a release of 47 balloons, a candlelight vigil and more. A community viewing of memorial events at Ground Zero is scheduled for members of the Pace community on 9/11.
Perhaps because my own children were 8, 10 and 12 at the time of the attacks on 9/11, there’s a special place in my heart for the voices of young people directly affected by them. So one event taking place at Pace holds special appeal.
It’s a debut performance of “Ten Years Later: Voices from a Post-9/11 Generation Speak” — an exploration written by 13 young people ages nine to 21 that’ll take place on the stage where Bravo TV films its “Inside The Actors Studio.” Celebrities take note. These kids will be a tough act to follow.
Coming up: The 9/11 memorial and museum takes shape, More 9/11 events featuring artworks by youth, Remembering 9/11 through arts and culture