Thousands Of Messages Pour into Battery Park for Tenth Anniversary of 9/11
NEW YORK-NY—When New York City’s six largest interfaith organizations invited communities around the country and world to leave a message of hope for the city on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, they were overwhelmed by the response. “We have received thousands of messages on ribbons that will be affixed to twelve panels in Battery Park over the Sept. 11 anniversary weekend,” said the Rev. Robert Chase, Executive Director, Intersections International. “Some are from 9/11 family members and from small children not yet born on that day; some are from college students, lawyers, Catholic priests and Buddhist monks. The diversity of participation is a true microcosm of our country.”
The “Ribbons of Hope” project allows individuals to leave a personalized message of hope for NYC to be displayed in lower Manhattan over the 9/11 weekend. Project staff shipped over 7,000 packages of ribbons to families, organizations and communities across the country and so far received over 10,000 ribbons (and rising) in advance of launching the twelve panels in Battery Park. Visitors in lower Manhattan will have an opportunity to select a ribbon of their choice and leave a message on the panel. “The messages are individual expressions of hope and healing. Taken together they form a rich tapestry that reflects the very best of the American spirit,” Rev. Chase said.
The ribbons will be displayed on panels in Battery Park until noon, Monday, Sept.12.
Participation in the “Ribbons of Hope” project has already included diverse groups such as farmers in Missouri, senior citizens from Amish country, synagogues in New Jersey and even Baptists Churches in North Carolina. Many of the groups and individuals who sent ribbons of hope expressed their thanks for having this type of an outlet:
Miss. Collins fourth grade class in Nashua, New Hampshire said:
“Thank you for spreading the message of hope so we can have a bright future! Each day brings the possibility of a miracle…be that miracle!”
First Congregational Church in Western Springs, Illinois said:
“We invited our members to create a ribbon of hope to send to you for your display. We want you to know that our prayers for peace and healing are with you.”
Coca-Cola Company in Dallas, Texas said:
“On behalf of the Coca-Cola Company Distribution Department at Centura Towers Dallas, TX, we wanted to show our support for the ones who were lost on this tragic day and for the families that lost love ones. This day will forever live and be a reminder of the tragic events that took place.”
And many individuals have found out about the project simply by visiting us online:
“Just last night I read about Ribbons of Hope on the internet. I was looking for prayers for our Church Services on Sunday. Please find enclosed three ribbons from three generations--my mom, myself and my daughter."
Visit this photo gallery that will continue to update with pictures of these and other “Ribbons of Hope” participation over the 9/11 weekend.
The “Ribbons of Hope” project is a part of the “Prepare New York” coaltion—a groundbreaking effort founded by six of New York City’s largest interfaith organizations to change the dialogue on the tenth anniversary from one of exclusion to inclusion. The coalition has done so by employing several tactics including “Coffee Hour Conversations”—dialogues facilitated across New York City by interfaith leaders to discuss religious freedom and topics of multiculturalism in America—and the coalition has launched several video and educational resources that provide communities around the country with the tools they need to lead similar conversations.
The coalition was also recently joined by over 100 secular and faith-based partners, including the Archdiocese of New York, who pledge to support “Prepare New York” and its efforts by carrying out educational, media or face-to-face work.
“As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, we as New Yorkers of diverse faith traditions and backgrounds have an opportunity to make this city a more welcoming place then it was last summer,” said the Rev. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director, Interfaith Center of New York, at a press conference earlier this year. “From Imam’s speaking at churches in Brooklyn; from members of the Muslim community in dialogue with 9/11 survivors and family members; exciting conversations are taking place across the five boroughs,” she said.
The “Prepare New York” coalition six founding partners include Auburn Theological Seminary, Interfaith Center of New York, Intersections International, Odyssey Networks, Quest, and Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. Two community organizations—September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows and 9/11 Communities for Common Ground—serve as advisers to the coalition.
Images of Ribbons and Battery Park Panels: