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
March 8, 2012
Dear FOS11 Members,
As the days of 2011 drew to a close and we began a new year, we at Families of September 11 have been assessing our role in the 9/11 community and the larger population impacted by terrorism.
Ten years ago FOS11 was founded, out of necessity and common cause, by family members who lost loved ones on September 11, 2011. We needed information and a platform from which to speak to that need. None of us really knew what was ahead of us. Beyond those immediate weeks and months, our mission solidified: to raise awareness about the effects of terrorism and public trauma and to champion domestic and international policies that prevent, protect against, and respond to terrorist acts.
In our early years, FOS11 served as a hub for 9/11 related information of particular interest to the family members of those who died and we communicated through email list-serves, a yahoo user group, and our web site. Among our early achievements were efforts to:
-assure dignified handling of human remains at Ground Zero,
-increase access to the medical examiner’s office,
-provide counseling resources to address financial exigencies and access to counseling,
-advocate for media constraint in, or at least advance warning of, depictions of graphic images of victims or of destruction caused by the attacks,
-advocate for regulatory and administrative changes to enhance recovery from the Victim’s Compensation Fund and
-support the work of the 9/11 Commission.
Many of our Board Members passionately crusaded for changes in public policy with the intent that no one else would have to go through the same experiences as we did. We joined in development of an on-line grief survey and created an online chat program to provide an opportunity for members to meet online and exchange ideas with others in the 9/11 community who were facing similar challenges.
Our web site and emails have kept our membership up to date and informed about issues related to 9/11 and terrorism. The Children of September 11 web pages have provided resources and links to emotional support websites, information on scholarships and camps, and miscellaneous resources on subjects like school safety and other organizations that provide support to children. For many, we have been an accurate, non-partisan and reliable source of information, keeping our focus on marginalizing the scourge of terrorism and mitigating its effects while preserving our civil liberties.
In 2008 we embarked on a new project, the 4 Action Initiative, a collaboration of FOS11, the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, and Liberty Science Center. More than three years of work was brought to fruition this summer when the 4 Action Initiative released its K-12 curriculum, Learning From the Challenges of Our Times: Global Security, Terrorism, and 9/11 in the Classroom. The 4 Action Initiative curriculum places the events of September 11th in a larger and more meaningful educational context by providing an opportunity for students to learn through age appropriate lessons about the complexities of today’s world: threats to global security and terrorism, factors that contribute to terrorism, consequences of an attack and finally, what can be done to prevent such events from occurring in the future. The curriculum, like the work of the 9/11 Commission, is a well-lit path forward, built on lessons learned.
During the many commemoration events this past September, we were able to see the various changes in so many of us who will be forever affected by that first day. My fellow board members and I have concluded that the best way to realize FOS11’s mission to raise awareness about the effects of terrorism in a lasting way is through education, specifically through the 4 Action Initiative. After much contemplation we have decided that the best next step is to sunset Families of September 11 and enable the 4 Action Initiative to flourish.
In the coming weeks we will take the steps necessary to conclude the operations of Families of September 11 and dedicate our remaining resources to launching a new website and structure for the 4 Action Initiative to stand on its own. The redesigned website will feature the lesson plans released this summer in a new design that is easily downloadable for teachers and educators. In the coming years additional lessons will be added. Many of the resources that have been available on the FOS11 or the COS11 website will remain accessible through an archival version of our web site, linked to the 4 Action Initiative site.
We will also work with those of you who would like to remain linked to a 9/11 organization by providing information on some of the other family and 9/11 groups. And we will maintain your place on the mailing list to be managed by the 4 Action Initiative.
The 4 Action Initiative has been spearheaded by Mary Ellen Salamone, a former FOS11 board member, and Donna Gaffney, a long-time advisory board member. We know that this project will be in good hands and that through it our young people will have resources to think critically about the events of 9/11 and understand the context of that time.
Thank you for being with us and providing support over these ten years. The work of Families of September 11 is soon done. The efforts of the 4 Action Initiative are, in a way, only beginning.
Chairman of the Board