For many, the observance of this Sept. 11 was not as big as last year when the country marked the 10th anniversary of the event. However, at Prince George’s Community College, administration, faculty and students marked the date by heading President Obama’s call to serve as well as reflect.
Samantha Warfield, spokeswoman for the Corporation for National and Community Service, said this was the third year for the National Day of Service and Remembrance, an event created through the passage of the Kennedy Serve America Act. She said events took place across the country and in the District of Columbia, where officials spent the morning repairing and painting a Northeast Washington apartment complex.
“Here at Prince George’s Community College we have a major commitment to service,” said Charlene M. Dukes, president of the Largo institution that hosted a series of events today as part of a White House interfaith initiative that is targeted at students on college campuses.
Andristine Robinson, director of institutional initiatives for the college, said the college decided to join President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge this summer “to better the world through community service.”
As part of the program, a committee of about 50 students and faculty from diverse religious and non-religious backgrounds came together and planned the event that included a “Fun Run,”service projects and “wall of remembrance” where people wrote reflections about Sept. 11.
“The goal that we were trying to achieve with this event was to promote awareness and unity among different religions and people from different backgrounds,” said Juanita Artis, president of the Student Government Association. “It doesn’t matter where you come from or what religion you are with. At the end of the day we are all people.”
Musarrat Haque was in second grade at a College Park Islamic School when the Sept 11 attacks took place. Haque,18, who is now an engineering major at Prince George’s, said that even though the attack was a difficult period for her family because many Muslims were stereotyped, things have gotten better.
“It is really a nice opportunity to see everyone come together to support everyone in the entire country and what we have been through,” said Haque, who spent the morning passing out American flags and listening to her peers talk about their experiences on Sept. 11.
Haque said that even though she has had to deal with people staring at her black headdress, she has seen progress over the years. She said time “has allowed everyone to grow. I don’t bear any animosity.”
“I know it has been a rough road for everybody. I think our country is changing and it is changing for the better.”
Neha Sethi, 25, an accounting major from Bowie, said, “I am Hindu and I really enjoyed listening to see what people believe. It doesn’t matter what faith you belong to; we should stay with loving each other.”
As people walked into a forum entitled “Creating a Culture of Success,” Rana Mohammmad Zarina, a native of Pakistan who is majoring in accounting, handed them an American flag. “We all suffered, but we are all Americans and we should bind together.”
As she placed index cards written by students on the wall of remembrance, Paulette McIntosh, a native of Jamaica, also reflected.
“I was working at St. Mary’s College on that day,” McIntosh said. “For me, seeing people me of all different faiths and backgrounds coming together for a day of service is encouraging.”