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Emerson events will commemorate 9/11

As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, Emerson has lined up a series of events for the Emerson community to mark that day. The events include a screening of an alumna’s documentary about a public service organization formed by survivors in the aftermath of the attacks, a panel discussion with experts about how 9/11 has affected life in America, and a candlelight vigil of remembrance.

Produced by Emerson alumna Megan Sleeper ’03, New York Says Thank You will be screened Thursday, September 1, 7:00–8:30 pm in the Bright Family Screening Room at the Paramount Center. Tickets are free, but reservations are necessary. Go to to RSVP.

New York Says Thank You premiered worldwide at the Tribeca Film Festival and will make its television debut in September. The feature-length film follows a group of New Yorkers who travel every September to communities across the country that are struck by disaster, natural or man-made, to help others rebuild, and to say “thank you” for the support they received after 9/11.

Brian Fitzpatrick, one of the New York firefighters featured in the film, and the filmmakers, including Sleeper and director Scott Rettberg, will be available for a Q&A following the film screening.

Brian Fitzpatrick (left), a New York firefighter featured in the film New York Says Thank You, is pictured with Producer Megan Sleeper '03 (center) and Director Scott Retberg (right) at the film's premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

In addition to the screening, Emersonians are invited to attend a 9/11 panel discussion called A Decade of Fear: The Impact of 9/11 on American Life, sponsored by Emerson’s Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies. The panel will be Tuesday, September 6, 6:00–8:00 pm in the Bill Bordy Theater and Auditorium. President Lee Pelton will offer introductory remarks and Dean Amy Ansell will introduce the panel discussion.

The panelists will be Andrew Bacevich, a Boston University international relations professor and an expert in American foreign policy in the Middle East; Peter Gottschalk, a Wesleyan University religion professor and an expert in Islamophobia; and Nancy Murray, the director of education at the ACLU of Massachusetts and an expert in civil liberties.

The College will also hold its annual vigil in honor of terrorism victims worldwide on the actual anniversary of the tragedy, Sunday, September 11. The vigil will begin at 7:30 pm at Boston Common’s Parkman Bandstand.

The longest running vigil of remembrance of 9/11 in Boston, it was initiated by Emerson’s Communication Politics and Law Association (CPLA) and its advisor, Communication Studies Associate Professor Gregory Payne, on the evening of September 11, 2001, to honor the memory of the wife of a former Emerson Trustee, Sonia Mercedez Puopolo, who was on American Airlines Flight 11. Sonia’s daughter, Sonia Tita Puopolo ‘96, MA ‘97, is a former CPLA president and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emerson. The younger Puopolo will be in attendance, along with President Lee Pelton, Payne, and Prince Faisal Al Saud ‘01.

In addition to Sonia Puopolo, the Emerson community also lost two other members on 9/11: alumna Jane Simpkin and faculty member Myra Aronson.



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