This is very personal to me; my son’s college is about a mile from Copley Square.
He was fine, but he and a group of friends decided to walk home (several miles) rather than take the train as usual.
9/11 was also very personal. I was one connection removed from at least two people who were killed, and it took me two frantic weeks to find out that my ex-housemate from my Brooklyn days, who was at that time living just two blocks from the WTC, was all right.
But what made me want to write tonight was not those deep personal connections. It was a question by my friend @PeterShankman, founder of HARO, about how he can talk about this sort of random violence to his daughter, due to be born in a few days.
My answer, I admit, talked around his question rather than going straight for the center. I wrote:
We explained to our young kids (now 20 and 25) why we were bringing them to protest various wars and injustices and environmental atrocities, and to talk of the importance of NOT accepting evil, that we could always do SOMETHING and whether it worked or not was less important than that we did not turn a blind eye.
Interestingly enough, they both have been involved in social justice work quite a bit. My daughter defended a nerdy male classmate against bullies when she was six, and my son was also six when he organized a children’s fundraiser for Save the Mountain, the environmental group my wife and I started that actually did save our local mountain. I was and still am very proud of them.
I do feel that one of the things we did right as parents is to inculcate our kids both with a sense of social justice and with the knowledge that they can actually have an impact. These were lessons I got from my own mother, the late Gloria Yoshida; as a young mom in New York City, she was one of the white volunteers civil rights groups could call upon to find out if that “already rented” apartment was REALLY rented, or if it was only off the market if a black family came to look at it.