December 7, 2007

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December 7, 2007


Dear Families and Friends,


Once a year I devote my letter to asking for your financial support.  At a time when many 9/11 organizations are closing or revisiting their mission, VOICES is stronger than ever, with broadened programs planned in 2008.  We will continue to support the evolving needs of families and survivors, promote national preparedness and commemorate the lives and stories of September 11, 2001 through the 9/11 Living Memorial project.    


As a family member myself, I find great comfort knowing that our efforts to create the 9/11 Living Memorial digital archive will ensure that the lives of those who perished and the stories of those who survived will be preserved in perpetuity.  Future generations will understand both the loss we suffered and the way our country became one - far beyond what will ultimately reside in history books.  This year we will expand our outreach to the 9/11 community providing  mental health support, workshops around the country and our annual September 10th and 11th events in New York City. 


Since VOICES began we have been blessed with  volunteers and staff who have dedicated their time to help us in so many ways. Corporations and foundations have also generously provided us with invaluable pro bono expertise and financial contributions. At a time when 9/11 funding sources are ending, we will be relying on your support to continue our efforts.


By now, you should have received information in the mail asking for your participation during our annual fundraising campaign  If you haven’t received our annual appeal letter and brochure, please contact us at (203) 966-3911,  or you can make a donation online


During this season of giving, we ask that you be as generous as possible, so that VOICES can continue our important mission.  Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has already made a donation and our best wishes to you and your family during this holiday season.


Warm regards,


Mary and the VOICES staff


VOICES programs and events


Creating New Holiday Traditions

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us yet again. Amidst the stress of gift buying, decorating, and schedules packed with parties and holiday events, most people think of the holidays as a cheerful time abundant with family traditions and happy memories. However, for those who have experienced loss the holidays can be an especially difficult time. You may struggle with finding joy while also trying to honor those who are no longer here to celebrate. You are not alone.


In speaking with those involved in VOICES teleconference groups, the topic of grief during the holidays is always discussed.  It has been suggested that rather than taking part in old traditions that could be a painful reminder of your loss, your family might try creating new traditions that honor your loved one, such as lighting candles or telling favorite stories.


This week we pose the questions  “How do you honor your loved ones during the holidays?  What new traditions have you found helpful during the holiday season?” Please respond to mdoherty@voicesofsept11.org. Your responses will be included anonymously in next week’s e-newsletter to share with our membership. 


9/11 living memorial feature


Alisha C. Levin "Leesh"


Alisha Levin, aged 33, had been made Vice President of Human Resources at Fuji Bank shortly before September 11, 2001. A native of Oxford Circle, Pennsylvania, Alisha had graduated from Hofstra University in 1990 and received her Masters degree from Teachers College at Columbia University.


Alisha had worked at Fuji Bank for three years. She traveled home to Philadelphia often to see her parents, Audrey and Marvin, her sister Mindy Gottenberg, and her nephews Jacob and Alex, with whom she shared a special bond.




Alisha's Living Memorial pages include a note from her Mom, her artwork from college, photos of her sorority sisters at Hofstra University, photos of her memorial service and pictures of a tree planted by her nephews. She is remembered through the Alisha C. Levin Endowment Scholarship to aid needy female students at Hofstra and at Northeast High School in Philadelphia, PA, as well as through memorials at Fuji Bank in Japan and at Hofstra University.



The 9/11 Living Memorial digital archive is dedicated to commemorating the lives and stories of September 11, 2001 and the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing.





CBS TV Special December 9 Will Give American Muslims a Chance to Speak

AMERICAN MUSLIMS: A CHANCE TO SPEAK, an interfaith religion special on American Muslims speaking about and for themselves, will be broadcast Sunday Dec. 9 on the CBS Television Network. Check your local station for exact time.The program centers on the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, Ohio, a 75-year-old Muslim community in the American heartland which observes the most important elements of Islamic life and teaching, while at the same time is progressive enough to adapt to the American lifestyle and extend a welcoming hand to other religious and college groups with an interest in Islam. The broadcast explores Muslim beliefs, community outreach to non-Muslims, and how 9/11 affected American Muslims.


New York Police Remind Shoppers About Terrorism During Holiday Period
Police in Middletown, NY staged an exercise this week called "Operation Safeguard" aimed at thwarting a potential terrorist attack through a public education campaign. The deployment included state police, county sheriffs' offices and local police from Orange, Rockland and Sullivan counties at various shopping centers in the area .Troopers, sheriff's deputies and police officers handed out fliers to shoppers that urged "If you see something, say something." County officials believe that such public awareness campaigns are an effective weapon against terrorist attacks on soft targets.Read more about Operation Safeguard here.

New Report Details Massive Failures and Billions Wasted at Department of Homeland Security
The nonprofit organization Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has issued a report entitled "Homeland Security for Sale? DHS: Five years of Mismanagement". The report, with an accompanying video and website, document the past five year's of the agency's most serious problems and troubling practices, and details billions of dollars in waste and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars. The video, full report and website can be viewed here.