Sharing the struggles and celebrating the triumphs of being African American in the ballet world and beyond.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten

Photo by Paul Van Hoy II

As the world breathes a sigh of relief over the killing of Osama Bin Laden, and as we remember those who have lost their lives and others who continue to suffer, I am reminded of the weeks that followed September 11th.

I will never forget the sense of collective unity formed through this tragedy. I felt a bond of kinship with perfect strangers as we stood in endless lines to give blood, held hands or sang together in Union Square. Walls and stern looks so commonplace as one weaves through congested New York City sidewalk traffic were replaced by an uncharacteristic quiet, compassion and a desire to comfort those around you. Celebrity gossip and tabloid spectacle had lost its significance. Our focus shifted to family, friends, volunteering, being good neighbors and carpe diem--as we were all abruptly made aware just how short and fragile life is. It wasn't too long after we were encouraged to return back to "normalcy" when suddenly celebrities were back on the scene and we were being feed our daily dose of media junk food. Although I understood the need to lift the spirits of a distraught nation, I wished we could have used that horrible tragedy as an opportunity to shift our collective focus and mentality. I wished "normalcy" wasn't a 24 hour partisan news cycle, gossip columns, fast food, high fashion and cosmetic surgery. I missed the moments when strangers and countrymen stood in solidarity to comfort each other and focus on things that really matter like; our country, our communities, our families, and yes, our very own lives.

To all those who have lost their lives and to those who mourn them, those who bear the scars of tragedy, and to those fighting for freedom, my prayers are with you. We shall never forget!