Remembering September 11th, 20 Years Later

Dear SEO Family Member,

While SEO’s New York headquarters were not located in the Financial District in 2001, our Exchange Place office is now just a few blocks from the site where the shocking 9/11 attacks occurred 20 years ago. We mourn and remember the thousands of family members, friends, and loved ones who lost their lives on that day, tragedies which continue to reverberate for so many, including members of our SEO Family. The losses and injuries have extended until today, as thousands have dealt with illness, trauma, and death resulting from their work at Ground Zero and subsequent events.

And yet, this is also a time for reflecting on the stories of heroism and community that arose from that day. Thousands of first responders rushed to save lives, knowing they might sacrifice their own. People of all backgrounds came together to provide assistance and resources. We saw what is possible when people are committed to working towards the collective good, especially during challenging times.

The 20th anniversary of 9/11 reminds us that the history of America is filled with setbacks on the road to progress. Some of these setbacks have been caused by forces from outside our country, while others have been the result of forces from within, including systemic racism, which is at the core of our work in closing the opportunity gap for motivated young people. At the same time, the anniversary also reminds us that our greatest successes can happen when we work together for the common good, such as ensuring the promise of our country is accessible to all.

Since 2002, SEO has been deeply grateful to the Golkin family for providing critical support for many of our Scholars in college through the Andrew Golkin Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund was established by the Golkin family to remember Andrew, who lost his life on 9/11. Andrew’s family knew he was deeply committed to helping anyone in need, and they wanted to honor his memory by supporting determined and motivated young people with essential dollars for tuition gaps, housing, textbooks, and other resources.

Though the pandemic has largely kept us away from 55 Exchange Place, the symbolic importance of SEO’s location in New York City remains clear. As we did after 9/11, and as SEO has for almost 60 years, let us remain committed to the collective good and to our critical work building a more equitable society.

My best,