September 11 is a day few New Yorkers will ever forget. For those of us at Bailey House it was a time of coming together to get through that horrible, terrifying day and the weeks after when threats of Anthrax loomed and, as a friend of mine said, “Even white powder on a discarded jelly donut sent fear throughout the City.”
On 9/11, I remember standing in the staff lounge at our old headquarters at 275 7th Avenue with staff members Karyn McClean, Bernie Tarver and others. We watched the second plane hit the WTC. Later that morning Denise Arzola, who was leading the Bailey House office on E. 107th Street at the time, advised us that a member of her team had been scheduled to attend a workshop being held in one of the towers. It took several anxious hours to find the staff person, who had left the area soon after the second plane hit. Meanwhile, the courageous Bailey-Holt House staff evacuated residents after the New York Fire Department warned that there might be gas leaks in the West Village as a result of the destruction downtown.
While it’s hard to remember, I find that doing so helps me realize why I wake up every 9/11 with a sense of dread. It’s not only what happened that day but the fact that we could no longer assume that our City was exempt from the type of violence that some people around the world suffer through every day. Let’s be extra kind to ourselves and everyone around us today. Let’s use the Bailey House understanding of a “trauma-informed” approach to client care and extend it to each other.