Sisters Share Wisdom About Sept. 11

In the December 2001 issue, ESSENCE magazine spoke with 24 women -- all of whom were of African descent, yet varied in age and walks of life -- about the Sept. 11 attack on America, and our country's response. These women offered words of wisdom from thei

 

MARCIA ANN GILLESPIE,

New York City; editor-in-chief, Ms. magazine Terror breeds in poverty and want, in hungry bellies, in ignorance, in misogyny and racism, in fanaticism, in oppressive economic, social, and political conditions and systems. If we are to root out terrorism, we need to bring light not heat. We need to bring a commitment to raise the floor. We need to remind our leaders that terrorism must be denounced and rooted out at home as well as abroad. We need to take our heads out of the sand. We don't live in isolation, we live in the world. Our goal must be real peace, not the illusion of safety.

MINISTER AVA MUHAMMAD,

Atlanta; the Nation of Islam's national spokesperson and the first woman to lead a mosque In the 21st century, Christianity, Islam and Judaism are still dominated by unenlightened males of every race in the East and in the West. Until women are truly heard in the church, the mosque and the synagogue, the feminine expression of the Divine Attributes of the Creator cannot be experienced, and war will ultimately destroy most of humanity.

FARAI CHIDEYA,

Stanford, Calif., author of The Color of Our Future and founder of the Web site PopandPolitics.com The beauty that emerged from tragedy in New York was human connection. We all realized how human and fragile we are. But that humanity extends beyond the borders of our friends and family circle to people who are the neighbors we never speak to, people in other countries and people whose skin color, creed and even views we don't share.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT,

Johannesburg, South Africa, bureau chief; CNN At a University campus in Khartoum, I met students, much like those I had met anywhere in the world, engaging in debate about campus politics. But when I introduced the subject of the terror attack on the United States, there was no debate: We deplore what happened to innocent people, but we also deplore the U.S. policy that caused it. Words from one, that spoke for all. Many critics on this continent argue that American policy makers go their own way, and only call on the rest of the world in troubled times like these, when U.S. interests are threatened and/or treaded on.

EDWIDGE DANTICAT,

Award-winning author of three books, including The Farming of Bones One of the most poignant testimonials I heard after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 is of a single dad whose young daughter broke her leg the day before the assaults on New York's World Trade Center, forcing him to miss work. The young father had been mad at God, not only because God had allowed his child to feel pain, but also because her accident was going to prevent him from attending a very important meeting. However, on the morning of Sept. 11, he was forced to reevaluate his "misfortune," relearning a timeless lesson: that everything happens for a reason.

BISHOP VASHTI MURPHY McKENZIE,

Maseru, Lesotho (southern Africa), and Baltimore; presiding prelate, Eighteenth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church When terrorists used airplanes as missiles to hit at the heart of America, we saw hatred. We have an opportunity to declare war on this hatred. Not a war that's fought on foreign soil, not a war fought with missiles, bullets and guns, but a war that is fought in and with our own hearts, minds and spirits.

 

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