Fifty two Mondays of braving another week of survival and progress. Three hundred sixty-five pull-your-hair-out, fingernails-on-a-chalkboard days of frustration, obstacles and heartache. This ride through the heart of hell lingers on. So much healing remains undone.
In lower Manhattan, shadows filled the darkened night streets, as people isolated themselves. In Breezy Point, Queens, people were forced to abandon their homes that were destroyed by fire. In Coney Island, looters created disruption with their aggression and self-serving purposes. All over Brooklyn, police lie in wait at gas stations to prevent violence and riots. But not in Red Hook.
Red Hook created something else instead. Something unique. Something the entire nation has taken notice of – community.
It’s five am, and I’m still editing. This is, by far, the most difficult paper I have ever put together. To look back is to relive.
I remember sitting down to write our cover story last year. What could I possibly say to my beloved, distraught Red Hook? What kind of helping hand was I with my overly sentimental words? In the wee morning hours, I blink heavily again, grappling for words to describe how proud and honored I am to be a part of this.
We will rise above the ashes. We will rebuild. We will survive and grow stronger because we understand that two hands can do little, but multiple hands serving the same purpose will define and refine us.
Sometimes there just are not words for the emotions that come forth. The year has flown quickly. Yet there are thousands of pictures that mark the journey. The words “community” and “resiliency” are common in our vocabularies now. One I don’t hear often enough is bravery.
As this masterpiece of a community got to its feet and took those first harrowing steps forward, the eyes of the world were watching in awe.
We became the source of our own needs – from within. We have organized, rallied and supported each other. When there has been need, we have found a way to fill it. And when devastation seemed to have knocked us down, we still found the strength to rebuild.
We all came to Red Hook for different reasons. But the choice to stay was an easy one. We have become something greater than just ourselves. We have transcended into something bigger – community.
We are neighbors of a community that can be envied in every corner of the world. We stand united, in power, compassion and inspiration. We have found our greatest strength in a moment of great weakness.
One entire year later, we are settling in to our “new normal.” We have taken major steps forward in our recovery. But we are not finished healing yet. When the physical work is complete, let us be kind to ourselves. Let us find time to heal.
Thank you for illustrating what it means to be a community. Thank you for exemplifying the true model of human spirit. Thank you for giving me hope and setting the example for the kind of world I want to live in. Along the way, we are weaving a beautiful tapestry that generations will remember and look upon as something of magnificence. – Kimberly