FOS11 Newsletter, Volume #3, Issue #4March 2004

Welcome | Issues Update | Upcoming Events | Resources | Contact Us | Donate

Families of September 11 is now operating as the For Action Initiative. The web pages on this site are available for informational purposes only. Please visit us at www.foractioninitiative.org.

Welcome

In this month, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those victims of the 3/11 attacks in Madrid. Their pain is a pain shared by all of us.  We offer to them not only our condolences but whatever strength and resolve we have developed over the past few years to cope with the aftermath of such a horrific event.

FOS11 has sent a letter of support to the Spanish families through our contacts in Spain.  Several family members have also written personal notes. If you would like to express your support for the families of 3/11, please send us your letters (http://www.info@familiesofseptembe11.org), under the subject line of "Letter of Support for 3/11 Families" and we will forward them.

This newsletter, we introduce you to our new Executive Director, Nikki Stern and to our new slate of officers (http://www.familiesofseptember11.org/about/whoweare.asp.) We urge you to avail yourselves of the helpful March TOOL and keep updated on news and resource information.  

Issues Update

Thoughts on Images, Polls and Politics
Thanks to all who participated in our poll on the topic of 9/11 images in political advertising.  The results of the poll mirrored results elsewhere, with about half our members supporting the use of images in campaign advertising and half who objected.

This has been a month filled with controversy and differing opinions over the use of 9/11 images in advertisements for political campaigns.  Regrettably but understandably, this has been turned by the media into something very partisan.

The statement from FOS11 on our website was not at all intended to be partisan.  We called on both political parties to practice restraint in the gratuitous use of images of 9/11 for purely political gain.  Our statement does not call for a moratorium on reference or discussion of the events of 9/11. We welcome such discussion and debate, so that we might not only understand what might have happened, but know that steps are being taken to prevent such an occurrence from happening again in our country.

We have been very focused on the effects of images showing the deaths of our loved ones from our inception.  Since we launched grass-roots efforts to monitor and warn against the use of disturbing 9/11 images in the media more than eighteen months ago, we have been concerned with the effects of repeated viewing of such images for family members, survivors, rescue workers and children (see this month’s article in this newsletter by psychologist Stefanie Norris at Willow House in Chicago, explaining the symptoms and disabilities caused by post traumatic stress disorder). 

We support those members who lament the fact that 9/11, its horrors and its aftermath, are fading from the public consciousness in many parts of the country.  We do not want anyone to forget.  We need people to investigate, understand and take action because of what happened on September 11.  But in the interest of all families, especially those most vulnerable, we cannot support the use of graphic images purely for “shock” value. 

Clinical Implications of Images & Symbols of September 11th 2001
The repetitive use of images and symbols representing the trauma of September 11, 2001 in television advertising has the potential for causing renewed or elevated anxiety, distress and trauma related emotional symptoms. Many adults and children could be at risk for these problematic responses - especially family members of loved ones who were killed, survivors, rescue workers and others who were directly traumatized by the events of that horrific day.  Please read on for more insight on this issue offered by our guest consultant, Stefanie Norris, LCSW.  Click here to read Stefanie's document. If you would like to learn more or have questions for Stefanie, please email her at stefanienorris@willowhouse.org.

9/11 Commission to hold 8th Public Hearing in Washington DC - March 23-24th
The 9/11 Commission will hold the upcoming public hearing to investigate the formulation and conduct of U.S. counterterrorism policy, with particular emphasis on the period from the August 1998 embassy bombing to September 11, 2001.  The hearing is open to the public and members of the media.  Seating will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.  To learn more about this event, please visit the Commission's website at http://www.9-11commission.gov.  The hearings are a historic opportunity to inform the final report of the Commission, to understand how September 11 happened, and to help the Commission formulate recommendations to make America safer and more secure.

Updates on the Mottassadeq and Mzoudi Trials
In the case of the suit filed against Mottassadeq, the German Supreme Court remanded the case back to the Hamburg lower court for retrial.  He has asked a Hamburg court to release him from prison pending his new trial.  Motassadeq is the only person to be convicted in connection with the attacks.  The decision about whether or not to release him will take some time, as a new judge must study and review the hundreds of files associated with his case.  Meanwhile Mzoudi remains in Germany, in custody.  A motion to release him will undoubtedly be filed by his attorneys as soon as the case reaches the trial court, which can take up to two months.  To date no new trial date has been scheduled.  FOS11 will update you about the Hamburg trials as new information is received.


Dr. Ulrich v. Jeinsen visits FOS11 NY Office
Dr. Ulrich v. Jeinsen, the pro bono attorney who represented 9/11 families in the Hamburg trials in Germany recently visited FOS11’s NY office.  Throughout his career, Dr. Jeinsen has been committed to advocating for people who were directly affected by terrorism and airline disasters.  His work in the Hamburg trial has been relentless.  He was honored to represent all of the people affected by the terrible attacks.  He emphasized that it is important that all 9/11 families persist in their fight for justice and accountability.  “Together, we must all continue to work together.”  To learn more about Dr. Jeinsen and his tireless efforts to speak on behalf of victims’ families, please email him at http://www.germanlawair.com

Memorial Update
Board Member Tom Roger, a member of the LMDC Families Advisory Council, continues to represent Families of September 11 in meetings of various family groups’ representatives who are trying to agree on an alternative to the random listing of victims’ names on the Memorial. The latest proposal that is now being reviewed would allow families to select which footprint where they would want the name listed and allow for names to be listed within a group affiliation either alphabetically within the group--or in the case of the rescue units by rank. For example, all of the names of the Cantor Fitzgerald people could be listed together on the footprint for Tower 1 after a designation on the wall indicating that this is the Cantor group; any family members would have this option available to them.  The proposal may eliminate the need for display of shields.  FOS11 is hopeful that all family constituencies will accept this proposal such that is can be presented to representatives of the LMDC and the Memorial designer for consideration.

March TOOL
Families of September 11 TOOL for March was created by Aaron Zimmerman, novelist and Executive Director of NY Writers Coalition (www.nywriterscoalition.org), a nonprofit organization that provides creative writing workshops to formerly voiceless members of society. Families of September 11 TOOL for March was created by Aaron Zimmerman, novelist and Executive Director of NY Writers Coalition (www.nywriterscoalition.org), a nonprofit organization that provides creative writing workshops to formerly voiceless members of society.   Please click here for this month’s TOOL.

FOS11 - From Our Member

This month’s family member contribution is a poem submitted by FOS11 member Don.  Please click here to read his reflective poem entitled September 11 Hostages.

Upcoming Events

Official Tribute to the Crews of 9/11 to be Dedicated in Richmond
After nearly three years of planning the State Government of Virginia, the airlines industry and family members of American Airlines Flight 77, National Memorial Committee members, and residents will gather in Richmond on March 18th to dedicate the first official tribute to the airline crews of 9/11/2001. The event will begin at 4:30 PM at the Virginia Aviation Museum, which will be charged with the care and preservation of the tribute.  More than 350 people are expected to gather at the Virginia Aviation Museum. The Four Captains' Memorial Committee, Inc is a non-profit organization of volunteers brought together to pay tribute to the crews of 9/11.  For more information on the Committee or the dedication events contact the Chief Operating Officer at Kstrafer@henryarthur.com or call 703-307-1257.

Family Day Program for 9/11 Families in Nebraska
The Red Cross Family Day Program is an interactive series of gatherings that provide information and support to families affected by the events of 9/11 in coping with their ongoing needs.  Families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, and rescue and recovery workers in the Nebraska area, and their families are invited to attend an upcoming Family Day event on March 20, 2004 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm.  Please note that it is important to RSVP prior to the event as dates and locations are subject to change. Call the Red Cross Client Assistance Call Center at (877) 746-4987 or TTY (800) 662-1220 to RSVP. Location: The Centering Corporation 7230 Maple Street, Omaha, NE 68134. 

Free Trainings for Attorneys given by The National Center for Victims of Crime
The National Center for Victims of Crime is offering two more free trainings for attorneys who are representing victims in claims to the federal Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund.  The trainings will focus on practical strategies for presenting effective Fund claims and on recent developments with the Fund.  Although the training is geared to attorneys who are representing Sept. 11 victims, victims may attend with
their attorneys. The trainings will be as follows: Thursday, March 18, 2004, 2:30 PM - 5:30 PM, The Westin New York at Time Square, 270 West 43rd Street, New York, NY; and Monday, March 22, 2004
2:30 PM - 5:30 PM, Sheraton Edison Hotel Raritan Center, 125 Raritan Center Parkway, Edison, NJ. The program is free, but space is limited, so please register in advance by calling the National Center for Victims of Crime at 1-800-FYI-CALL. 

Public Meeting on the Future of Fresh Kills
On Wednesday, March 24, the New York City Department of City Planning and the Field Operations Team will host the first Public Meeting on the Future of Fresh Kills.  The meeting will be held at Holy Trinity Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church (1641 Richmond Avenue, Staten Island, NY) from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Families are encouraged to attend the first Public Meeting and participate in the planning process.

Hiking Event for Families in Massachusetts
 A day long, outdoor hiking event has been organized by the VOCAL AFAR and MHA of Greater Lowell for 9/11 families in Massachusetts.  The event will take place on March 27th at the Blue Hills Reservation in Quincy.  A pick up will be made at a central location and the day will begin at 9AM and end at 12PM.  To learn more about the event and/or to participate, please contact Meghan Gehan at 978-927-4506 ext. 216. 

Barenaked Ladies Concert for the Mass 9/11 Fund
The Barenaked Ladies are coming to the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, MA for a benefit concert for the Mass 9/11 Fund.  The concert will be held on April 7 at 7PM and the opening acts are Guster and Averi.  Family members interested in learning more about the concert or attending, please contact Linda Plazonja by phone at 617-310-6061 or visit http://www.massfund.org and click on the “Family Link” to send and email with the number of requested tickets to her.

Take Our Children to Work Day - An event sponsored by Tuesday’s Children
Tuesday’s Children, a nonprofit family service organization founded by family and friends of 9/11 victims, has made an eighteen year commitment dedicated to the needs of every child who lost a parent on 9/11.   FOS11 supports the work of Tuesday’s Children and its advocacy on behalf of these families.  On April 22, 2004, Tuesday’s Children is sponsoring an event for 9/11 children in the New York City metro area to allow them to glimpse into the corporate world and into the future. To learn more about this exciting children’s event, contact Kathy Murphy, the Program Coordinator, at 516-562-9000 or email her at http://www.kathy@tuesdayschildren.org.  In the fall of 2004, Tuesday’s Children will move forward with plans to implement this program nationwide. 

Two Retreats for 9/11 Families and Children
The International Liaison and Coordinator of 9/11 programs for the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Elaine Valdov, has contacted FOS11 with information about two upcoming retreats for families and children, in partnership with Rotary International and Lions Club International.  The first is scheduled to take place on April 14-18 in Bulgaria, and the second will be in New York City on May 7-9 (Mother’s Day).  In the next year, she anticipates additional programs will be scheduled in NY, California and Boston.
The program in Bulgaria is specifically organized to bring young people together, who have experienced a loss on 9/11. The Bulgarian program is for all youth (7-25) who are non-US citizens.  The retreat in New York is for families to come together on Mother's Day, from May 7-9. The programs include music, art, poetry, and drama activities – and focus on having fun.  The programs are available to 9/11 families at no cost.  To learn more, please contact Elaine at 914-843-4885 or email her at elainevaldov@yahoo.com.

Resources

American Red Cross Health Insurance Program – Assistance has been extended!
There has been an important change in the American Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program’s Health Insurance Subsidy Program (HISP):  HISP has been extended from 12 to 14 months.  This is the program that provides subsidies to cover the full out-of-pocket cost of health insurance premiums for injured individuals and surviving family members.  Please note that the deadline for application HAS NOT changed. The date remains December 31, 2004. To learn more about the program please visit http://www.workingtoday.com or call Working Today at 718-222-1099 x 112. 

Moving On – Support Group Begins in NYC
Moving On, a support group for 9/11 widows and widowers serving family members on Staten Island for the past two years, is organizing an additional family support group in Manhattan.  The group will meet regularly at September Space around noon on Fridays.  To learn more about the program, please email the facilitator (and certified grief counselor) Deborah Derman at deborahderman@aol.com or call her directly at 215-643-7206.

GOALS Project – Support Groups in New Jersey
Catholic Charities will be sponsoring some new family support groups in New Jersey.  They will be running sessions of the Family GOALS (Going On After Loss) Project.  It is a unique, art-based family support group.  Families arrive and we begin with dinner.  Sessions are run after school and include dinner and age appropriate groups and activities.  Feedback from previous sessions has been overwhelmingly positive.  Groups are being organized in Morris County (Morristown), Bergen County (Ridgewood area) and Hudson County (Hoboken / Jersey City area), to begin in April.  For more information, please contact Kevin Duffy, Family Advocate, Catholic Charities, by phone at 973-777-7958 or by email at kduffy@catholicharities.org. Also, if you would like to speak with some families that have participated in GOALS support groups, Kevin can put you in contact with them.  Everything is completely free and supported by volunteer efforts. 

Graduate Student solicits 9/11 Family Input for Thesis
Kerry Pearson, a graduate student at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, also works as an information and referral specialist for Project Phoenix Helpline, a 9/11 information and referral helpline through the Mental Health Association in New Jersey.  Through her work with Project Phoenix Helpline she become extremely interested in how those impacted have been coping since the tragedy.  She has focused her thesis on the relationship between varied coping styles and their effect on life adjustment.  She would be extremely grateful if any families would participate in a confidential study (by answering two questionnaires that would take all of 10 minutes to complete).  All families can receive a final copy of her paper, by email, when the document is complete. For further participation information or questions, please call (201) 463-8591 or email her at kpearson@mhanj.org

Remember. Honor. Hope.
FOS11 offers a wrist band, in hope for a better future. Click here to learn more.

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Families of September 11 (FOS11) is a 501(c)(3) organization founded by families of those who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Membership is open to anyone affected by the events of September 11, 2001. More than 2,400 people worldwide have chosen to join us.



Families of September 11 is an accredited charity and is a member of the Seal Program, which indicates that our organization has met the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. For more information about the Standards, please visit the BBB of Metro New York's website at http://www.newyork.bbb.org/.

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