There are a lot of things I want to say today. There are many things I want to talk about, but out of respect for what happened 10 years ago today, instead all I can really say is how horrible. All I can really say is my heart goes out to all of those people who lost friends and family members on September 11. But not only that, my heart goes out to all people, in all countries who have been victims of violence. Anyone who has been made to suffer at the hands of someone else. This won’t be the popular stance, but I’m also praying for the terrorists. I’m praying they’ll come to understand we are all people. We all fundamentally want the same things: love, acceptance, safety. I’m praying that those people whose hearts have been closed off due to fear and hatred will get opened. That they’ll see the error of their ways. I’m praying that people will really get just how interconnected we are and how one act of violence affects all of us and only breeds more violence. I’m praying for peace, knowing peace starts with me. I’m praying that we recognize the good in the world.
Did you know Meetup.com started because of the terrorist attacks? Here’s a letter the CEO Scott Heiferman sent a few days ago:
“Let me tell you the Meetup story. I was living a couple miles from the Twin Towers, and I was the kind of person who thought local community doesn’t matter much if we’ve got the Internet and TV. The only time I thought about my neighbors was when I hoped they wouldn’t bother me.
When the towers fell, I found myself talking to more neighbors in the days after 9/11 than ever before. People said hello to neighbors (next-door and across the city) who they’d normally ignore. People were looking after each other, helping each other, and meeting up with each other. You know, being neighborly.
A lot of people were thinking that maybe 9/11 could bring people together in a lasting way. So the idea for Meetup was born: Could we use the Internet to get off the Internet — and grow local communities?
We didn’t know if it would work. Most people thought it was a crazy idea — especially because terrorism is designed to make people distrust one another.
A small team came together, and we launched Meetup nine months after 9/11.
Today, almost 10 years and 10 million Meetuppers later, it’s working. Every day, thousands of Meetups happen. Moms Meetups, Small Business Meetups, Fitness Meetups . . . a wild variety of 100,000 Meetup Groups with not much in common — except one thing.
Every Meetup starts with people simply saying hello to neighbors. And what often happens next is still amazing to me. They grow businesses and bands together, they teach and motivate each other, they babysit each other’s kids and find other ways to work together. They have fun and find solace together. They make friends and form powerful community. It’s powerful stuff.
It’s a wonderful revolution in local community, and it’s thanks to everyone who shows up.
Meetups aren’t about 9/11, but they may not be happening if it weren’t for 9/11.
9/11 didn’t make us too scared to go outside or talk to strangers. 9/11 didn’t rip us apart. No, we’re building new community together!!!!
The towers fell, but we rise up. And we’re just getting started with these Meetups.”
Because of things like this and more, I know another world is not only possible, it’s probable.