Today marks the anniversary of a series of horrific terrorist attacks that took the lives of thousands of people on September 11, 2001. Today we honor the memory of those who lost their lives simply for going to work or traveling on a plane, and those who sacrificed their lives to save others as first responders or ordinary citizens. We honor heroes who made split-second decisions that saved the lives of others, and those who sacrificed their health and paid the ultimate price in responding to disaster conditions at the World Trade Center. Even now, some families continue to search for missing loved ones who disappeared on that day, and our hearts go out to them as they seek answers.
On that fateful day, people across New York City and around the country united to help and comfort each other. We must recognize that September 11 also ushered in a new era of fear and distrust, with targeted surveillance of Muslim Americans and people of Arab descent and widespread Islamophobia. Over a decade and a half later, Islamophobia is on the rise, and people of Muslim and Arab descent are still being persecuted. We must refuse to let bigotry, hatred or prejudice tarnish the American dream or divide us.
Above all, our proud nation is strongest when we refuse to let go of our values and ideals, when we stand united in our determination to guarantee liberty and justice for all-- and when we show compassion and love for our fellow Americans, from all walks of life, who call our amazing melting pot home.
Out of many, one. We will not be divided by hate or fear.
Dr. Gabriela Lemus
President, Progressive Congress