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An honest reckoning with 9/11 and its aftermath can help us address today’s generational crises

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My generation faced a crisis point on Sept. 11, 2001. Within 24 hours of that terrible day, I remember being part of emergency calls and meetings with Washington, D.C. area activists to address the backlash that was targeting Muslims, Sikhs, Afghans, Iraqis, Arabs, and South Asians. Those initial days catalyzed South Asians, Muslims, Arabs, Afghans, Iraqis, and Sikhs to advocate and organize against the climate of hate and flawed government policies, which led to devastating consequences that still reverberate 20 years later.

Today, a new generation is being catalyzed by multiple crises, including climate change, a global pandemic, and political polarization. How do we address these flashpoints with the hindsight of what has transpired over the past two decades? We can more effectively understand and respond to today’s crisis points if we acknowledge and reckon with the legacy of 9/11—and commit to changing course now.

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