SEPTEMBER 11, 2022
Dr. Ri’Cha ri Sancho, K-12 Civil Leadership™ Developer
It was a day in which you may have needed to be there. . .. to better understand the context of this article. Humanity witnessed a day that claimed nearly 3,000 lives shake the foundation of millions, far and wide. Inner reflection can ignite paths towards change, positive or negative.
This day, we have come to know as 9/11 is one that deserves remembrance. Remembrance of the slain, the lost, the affected, the broken, the left behind, the haunted, AND the strong, the vigilant, the resilient, the rehabilitated, the undaunted. Is it possible to believe that multiple combinations of these words, outside of “slain,” may be present in a single human being? One who may be a relative, friend, associate, passerby or perhaps even ourselves.
During the moments before and after the planes struck the Twin Towers, I witnessed what appeared to be Human Metamorphosis. It was an Election Day, and I was supporting my uncle’s campaign for office in Harlem. People trickled into the election site with an array of pleasant or gruff demeanors. When the first Tower was struck, the same group of individuals emerged from the polling site as clones of one another – expression-less & expression-full, distressed, rushed, panicked, and ready to confer with anyone near them. I stood alone, for what felt like an eternity, and witnessed how quickly differences, political or otherwise, melted away as moot…unimportant.
Amid screams, undesirable smells from the wreckage, sirens blasting pleas to make way for their rescue efforts, police too few and uncertain to offer guidance (while also fearing for their loved ones), and thousands of people moving in droves towards bridges in different directions, there was little time to direct harm, loathe, ire, or belligerence towards others.
People placed their hands on the backs and shoulders of strangers to offer support. A sea of languages and accents communicated in unison. In these moments for me, the seemingly inflamed, cultural dissension that previously stemmed from a future in-law was extinguished. I learned that hearts recognize hearts, andour minds can be persuaded to halt peace.
On 9/11, the Voice of Humanity cried the loudest.
As you remember 9/11, consider reflecting on what is significant in your life and what can be rendered insignificant – instantly. I was raised to live as one who disempowers bias and prejudice in my own heart & mind. My personal experience with 9/11 and the immediate positive change I witnessed among strangers on that day gives me one more reason to continue in this direction.
To those affected by 9/11, past and present, we honor you and yours…. always.