GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

September 5, 2011

Editorial: Forum: A lasting fallout from 9/11


There will be a lot discussed and written about this week as we all prepare to mark next Sunday's 10th anniversary of the horrific Sept, 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

And much of that discussion will no doubt focus on how our lives have changed over the last decade since that chillingly clear Tuesday morning. And that's all appropriate.

But one strikingly positive thing to come out of that tragedy and its lingering aftermath is right here in cape Ann — where the Cape Ann Forum will open its 11th season by appropriately hosting a presentation by Middle East expert Joe Stork on Sunday, Sept. 11, from 7 to 9 p.m. in Gloucester City Hall's Kyrouz Auditorium.

The Cape Ann Forum, which has grown into a certified nonprofit organization, was forged directly in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when people like local resident and Simmons College professor Dan Connell, the late counselor and activist Mitch Cohen and other organizers wanted to present a program raising awareness of a number of global issues, including the rise of groups such as al-Qaida, and how the U.S. is perceived in other parts of the world.

Within weeks after the attacks, Connell presented a talk titled "Who Are They and Why Do They Hate Us?" at Gloucester's Unitarian Universalist Church. From there, Connell's talk turned into a regular serves — and now, 10 years later — that series has become a true "forum" for community residents to hear a wide range of journalists, authors, activists and others with extensive expertise on the political upheaval that, this year as much as ever, remains such a part of our world.

It would have been nice if Gloucester and Cape Ann never even needed a "Cape Ann Forum" — or if the need for awareness and understanding of these issues somehow diminished as time passed. Obviously, it hasn't.

The Cape Ann Forum is every bit as important now as it was when it was founded. And to that end, here's hoping it gets the support it deserves this Sunday, and throughout its 11th season.