‘After 9/11 fear was used to sow division and target Sikh and Muslim Americans because of how they looked’
Recalling how fear was used to sow division after 9/11 and target Sikh and Muslim Americans because of how they looked and worshipped, Vice President Kamala Harris has given a call for renewed unity.
“On the days that followed September 11th, 2001, we were all reminded that unity is possible in America,” she said on the 20th anniversary of the attack at Flight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
“We were reminded also that unity is imperative in America,” Harris said at the memorial event joined by former President George Bush, his wife Laura Bush and the friends and families of Flight 93 passengers and crew.
“It is essential to our shared prosperity, to our national security, and to our standing in the world,” she said. “And by unity, I don’t mean uniformity.”
“We had differences of opinion in 2001 as we do in 2021. And I believe that in America, our diversity is our strength,” the Indian American leader said.
“At the same time, we saw after 9/11 how fear can be used to sow division in our nation as Sikh and Muslim Americans were targeted because of how they looked or how they worshipped,” said Harris.
“But we also saw what happens when so many Americans, in the spirit of our nation, stand in solidarity with all people and their fellow American, with those who experience violence and discrimination — when we stand together,” she noted.
“And looking back, we remember the vast majority of Americans were unified in purpose to help families heal, to help communities recover, to defend our nation, and to keep us safe,” Harris said.
“In a time of outright terror, we turned toward each other. In the face of a stranger, we saw a neighbor and a friend,” she recalled. “That time reminded us the significance and the strength of our unity as Americans and that it is possible in America.”
“We will face new challenges — challenges that we could not have seen 20 years ago.” said Harris. “We will seize opportunities that were at one time unimaginable. And we know that what lies ahead is not certain. It is never certain; it has never been.”
“But I know this: If we do the hard work of working together as Americans, if we remain united in purpose, we will be prepared for whatever comes next,” she said.
Harris said it was her hope and prayer that Americans continue to honor the courage and conviction of 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93 who were killed heroically fighting to regain control of the plane from four al-Qaeda hijackers.
Read: George W. Bush, Kamala Harris point to unity after 9/11 in memorial speeches (September 11, 2021)
Americans she hoped would honor “their courage, their conviction, with our own; that we honor their unity by strengthening our common bonds, by strengthening our global partnerships, and by always living out our highest ideals.”
“This work will not be easy; it never has been. And it will take all of us believing in who we are as a nation,” Harris said. “And it will take all of us going forth to work together.”