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Optimism over fear

It is jarring to reflect on that devastating morning 19 years ago today. While much time has passed since that awful attack, the sudden fire, smoke, and destruction we saw on television is still vivid in my memory.

Now, as smoke, fire, and destruction fill our own state because of unprecedented wildfires, I'm reminded of the deep sense of vulnerability, shock, and uncertainty felt by so many of our citizens in the aftermath of 9/11.

There's no doubt that was a terrifying time. But had we known then, what we know now – that millions of Americans would come together in extraordinary displays of unity to care for one another – we would have felt more optimism than fear.

Today, as our community faces some of the most urgent and interconnected crises in our history, I am trying to remind myself of that.

Rather than dwell in fear, I am remembering the ways that the country came together. I am remembering the ways that first responders from across the world stepped in to help. I'm remembering the ways that neighbors and friends did everything they can to build back stronger than before (of course, this was before Bush/Cheney squandered that goodwill with their devastating wars).

When these fires finally subside, we will have a long and painful recovery period, not to mention the work we need to do to stop the ongoing pandemic, economic despair, and racial injustices.

But my hope is that we take inspiration from the way in which our nation came back stronger – and more united – after the 9/11 attack.

In the coming weeks and months, let's focus on helping our neighbors and protecting families in need. Let's do all we can to aid and support brave first responders. Let's prioritize things we can do that make a difference and emphasize issues and actions that bring us together. And let's focus on finding progress and hope after far too much fire and smoke.

Already, supporters of our campaign have raised tens of thousands of dollars for relief efforts. But more help will certainly be needed.

If you're in a place to do so, please join us in donating to a group of relief organizations working on the front lines to support families hurt by this disaster.

This is an unprecedented time for our state. But we also have a chance to come out the other side with unprecedented unity. Let's give that our best shot.



Posted on September 11, 2020.