Religious Leaders Dedicate the “9-11 Ribbons of Hope”
On Monday, Sept. 12, a formal ceremony was held near the Gardens of Remembrance in Battery Park to dedicate the “9-11 Ribbons of Hope”—12 tall mesh panels containing approximately 50,000 handwritten messages of hopes and prayers from around the world. The display, conceived and built by Prepare New York, a coalition of New York City’s largest interfaith organizations, has been in Battery Park since Sept. 9, 2011.
Over the three day period, people of every age, religion and country of origin, hung ribbons, diverse in color and texture, side by side. “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,” said the Rev. Robert Chase, Executive Director, Intersections International, a coalition partner. “The diversity of participation is a true microcosm of our country,” he said.
Following the ceremony in Battery Park, the panels will travel, much like the AIDS quilt, throughout New York for the next year, and will be on display at Central Synagogue, Riverside Church, St. Peter’s Church, Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens, along with many other churches, mosques, synagogues, and various secular locations.
The “Ribbons of Hope” dedication ceremony was lead by Rev. James Forbes, Senior Minister Emeritus, Riverside Church; Fr. Kevin Madigan, St. Peter’s Church; Cantor Ari Priven, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun; Imam Khalid Latif, Imam of the New York University; Curtis Zunigha, Elder and former Chief, Delaware (Lenape) Tribe of Indians; Gloria Williams, 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows; Rev. Robert Chase, Executive Director, Intersections International; Katherine Henderson, President, Auburn Seminary; Joyce Dubensky, Executive Vice President and CEO, Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.
In addition to the “Ribbons of Hope” project, the “Prepare New York” coalition facilitated several initiatives designed to change the dialogue on the tenth anniversary from one of exclusion to inclusion. These include the “9/11 World Trade Center Memorial Floating Lanterns”—a ceremony inspired by the Japanese tradition that invited New Yorkers to decorate a lantern with the name of a loved one and a message before sending it afloat into the Hudson River; over 500 “Coffee Hour Conversations”—dialogues facilitated across New York City by interfaith leaders to discuss religious freedom and topics of multiculturalism in America; and several video and educational resources that provide communities around the country with the tools they need to lead similar conversations.
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.
View Photos From The Dedication Ceremony: