NEW YORK, Aug. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An influential national coalition is urging Americans to put aside their differences for the upcoming 15th anniversary of 9/11, and pay tribute to the victims by rekindling the spirit of national unity, service and prayer that arose in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Led by the 9/11 Day nonprofit, the coalition of more than 40 faith, education, youth, 9/11, and service-related organizations, is encouraging Americans to engage in charitable service in observance of the federally-recognized September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.
"We hope the 15th anniversary of 9/11 will be an important and solemn reminder that the differences that sometimes divide us pale in comparison to our common humanity," said David Paine, president and co-founder of 9/11 Day, the nonprofit which founded and annually organizes the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance on behalf of the 9/11 community. "We believe the 9/11 community, along with the nation, deserves a day of peace and unity, as we collectively prepare to honor those lost on 9/11, the survivors, and the many who rose in service in response to the attacks."
30 Million Americans Expected to Participate in "9/11 Day" This Year
The new coalition, called Tomorrow Together, today launched a comprehensive five-year initiative to encourage unity, empathy, and service each year on 9/11, through to the 20th anniversary of 9/11 in 2021. Activities for 9/11 this year include:
- Large-scale service projects in New York City and Washington, DC, involving more than 7,000 volunteers, to pack 2.5 million meals for those at risk of hunger. Registration for both projects is open to the public on a limited basis. Here's where to sign up. For NYC: https://nycares911day.eventbrite.com. For DC: www.mealpackchallenge.com.
- New educational lesson plans, downloadable and available for free at 911day.org to help parents and educators teach children about empathy and service, created in partnership with Ashoka, National Youth Leadership Council, and the Corporation for National and Community Service;
- Inspiring television, radio, print, and digital public service advertisements encouraging good deeds and service, airing on television and radio, and appearing on billboards, and in major national publications. The print and digital ads feature photos of babies with the message that "Tragedy wasn't the only thing born on 9/11, hope was born too."
- A new website, 911day.org, created pro bono by Tata Consultancy Services, which provides an extraordinary array of resources to help individuals, educators, and organizations join the initiative, find volunteer opportunities through All For Good and Volunteer Match, and participate in other ways in this year's federally-recognized September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.
9/11 Day said it expects at least 30 million Americans to observe the 15th anniversary of 9/11 through charitable service and good deeds.
More than 40 prominent groups have pledged to work together to promote the ideals of Tomorrow Together, including: New York Cares, NYC Service, US Hunger, 9/11 Memorial, Catholic Volunteer Network, Interfaith Youth Core, Service for Peace, UJA Federation of New York, Buddhist Global Relief, CityYear, Voices for National Service, Sikh Coalition, Muslims Against Hunger, Repair the World, Islamic Relief USA, Teach for America, United Way Worldwide, Ashoka, National Youth Leadership Council, MENTOR: A National Mentoring Partnership, AARP Foundation, Tuesday's Children, 9/11 Memorial, The George Washington University, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, among a growing list of others. A complete list of the Tomorrow Together coalition leaders is posted on 911day.org.
Passing the Torch to the Next Generation
On Sunday, September 11, more than 2,000 volunteers in NYC will join together to assemble 500,000 meal packages for distribution to people at risk of hunger. These volunteers, many from faith-based organizations, will gather just a few miles from Ground Zero, at Pier 36 in Manhattan. In Washington, DC, AARP Foundation is leading the "9/11 Day" service project on the National Mall, with as many as 5,000 volunteers packing two million meals on September 11 and 12. The AARP Foundation-led project will promote inter-generational understanding, and the need to overcome the risk of hunger now facing many older Americans.
9/11 has also enlisted a group of 21 energized youth ambassadors who were born on the day of the tragedy, now almost 15 years old, to help spread the word to the next generation of Americans through social media. "Nearly a quarter of all Americans today are under age 18, and most have no or very limited memories of the attacks and their immediate aftermath," said Jay S. Winuk, executive vice president and co-founder of 9/11 Day. Jay's brother, attorney Glenn J. Winuk, a volunteer firefighter and EMT, was killed in the line of duty as a rescuer during the attacks on the World Trade Center. "It's important that this new generation of Americans understands that, as tragic as 9/11 was, it also brought out the very best in many people, which then helped unify our nation for a long period of time. We need to recapture that spirit, perhaps now more than ever."
Norwalk, CT, resident Hillary O'Neill, born on September 11, 2001, is one of 9/11 Day's youth ambassadors. "If we all do good deeds on 9/11, it'll add up," Ms. O'Neill says in 9/11 Day's television public service advertising. The PSA campaign was created pro bono by Grey New York, with acclaimed-Bodega director Adam Reid, and Santa Monica-based Rock Paper Scissors.
National networks CBS, Fox, ABC, and iHeart Media plan to air the new spots, and others, in the coming days leading up to September 11. The National Association of Broadcasters is making the PSAs available to thousands of television and radio stations through the NAB Spot Center at https://psa.nab.org/.
9/11 Day will also deliver its youthful message to more than half a million teachers. It has launched a special 9/11 educational website for educators at scholastic.com/911day, and is offering a new sweepstakes giveaway for parents, to encourage them to engage their children in good deeds for 9/11. Prizes include a family trip to visit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, along with gift cards provided by Target and other organizations. Teachers also can enter for a chance to win $200 for school field trips, provided through 9/11 Day, at: http://911day.org/fieldtripentry.
Join the conversation with #911day and follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. All media inquiries should be directed to 9/11Day@sunshinesachs.com.
About 9/11 Day
The "9/11 Day" observance, created in 2002 and organized each year by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization MyGoodDeed (d.b.a. 9/11 Day), has redefined how many Americans perceive and observe the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks. Recognized officially under bi-partisan federal law in 2009, 9/11 Day has grown to become the nation's largest annual day of charitable engagement. For more information, visit 911day.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Principal funding and other support for 9/11 Day in 2016 is provided by American Express Company; Citi Foundation; Corporation for National and Community Service; the agency which oversees federal implementation of 9/11 Day; Holland & Knight LLP; Target; Clarion Partners; Tata Consultancy Services, which developed the 911day.org website; New York Stock Exchange; Scholastic; National Association of Broadcasters; and the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund. Additional funding for the New York City service project has been provided by JPMorgan Chase; Global Brands Group; Keefe Bruyette & Woods; UJA Federation of New York; Buddhist Global Relief; Islamic Relief USA, and Cabot Creamery Cooperative.
SOURCE 9/11 Day