25 March 2009

Beverly was part of a large 9/11 community, united in grief and committed to action

Out of the horror and loss of the 9/11 attacks, there arose a varied and vibrant community. Its core consists mainly of survivors, family members and friends of victims, first-responders and others touched by the events of that September day. This community -- the 9/11 community -- created a number of groups and organizations to deal with the issues they confronted, from skyscraper safety, to airline security, to the creation of memorials, counseling, financial assistance, and government reform. 

Beverly became a leader in the 9/11 community, taking the initiative on a number of fronts. She also was generous with her time in supporting the work of  9/11 groups with which she was not directly involved. 

I have just come across a tribute to Beverly which appears on the home page of the September 11th Families Association. In it, Lee Ielpi describes why Beverly was such a valued and effective voice in the 9/11 community: "Beverly had a beautiful way of steering the families in the right direction. A calming force to keep a constructive dialogue in the face of tremendous emotion."

In the academic world, one expression that is used to denote such phenomena as the various 9/11 groups is "civil society." It's what happens when private individuals (as opposed to businesses or governments) join together in common cause around some issue or group of interests. No Truer Hearts will tell the story of how powerful and persuasive a grassroots movement can be.

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