On January 7, 2009, the September 11th Families’ Association hosted a special evening at the Tribute
Center to welcome families and professionals from the 9/11 Project.
In October 2001, the 9/11 Project was established to provide legal assistance. The Project was the only connection some September 11th families, who were undocumented, had to the 9/11 community. Living in the shadows, many were scared to come forward. The 9/11 Project has been working to secure permanent legal status in the US for these families. In August 2008, a temporary humanitarian parole from the Department of Homeland Security granted the 9/11 family members legal presence.
The 9/11 Project assisted with linguistic and cultural barriers by lending support & resources. Ana Soria, who lost her husband in the attacks, said “Since the day we got legal presence, our lives changed a lot…My son has many ideas now, he has options, he’s started to dream about studying marketing or maybe becoming a lawyer.”
The 9/11 Project counted on the commitment of volunteers from New York City law firms. Debra Brown Steinberg, a senior partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, was instrumental in coordinating this pro bono effort.
Debra felt the event was important after visiting the Center, stating, “Tribute is the connective tissue which binds us together no matter what language we speak, where we were born, or how we mourn that day. The names and faces on the walls of the Tribute Center, and the names and faces of their families walking in the galleries, come from every corner of the map, reminding us that the World Trade Center attacks were not just on the citizens of New York, but on the citizens of the world.”
The family members and law professionals were greeted by Tribute Center volunteers. Shannon, who lost her husband on AA Flight 11, said “It was wonderful to meet more members of the community and to welcome them into this network of support and healing we’re all part of.”