CAPAC Members Release Statements on 20th Anniversary of September 11th

Sep 13, 2021

Washington, D.C. — In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) issued the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair: 

“I will never forget that tragic Tuesday morning 20 years ago, the heroism of the first responders and passengers on Flight 93, the 3,000 people who lost their lives, and the loved ones who continue to mourn them. The attacks on September 11th were attacks on our whole nation, and in the days and weeks that followed, the country came closer together. But many in the Muslim, Middle Eastern, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian communities were excluded from that unity and instead became subject to an increasing atmosphere of suspicion, xenophobia, and violence. Even the US government adopted blatantly prejudiced practices, like surveillance of mosques and their attendees, that stripped many in these communities of their civil rights and contributed to the atmosphere of increased bigotry and hate violence. 

“And as we have seen, the focus on terrorism from abroad became a political justification for more prejudice. Lies about terrorists at the Southern border or that all Muslims are dangerous were used to justify cruel immigration policies, bans, and more. What’s even worse is that this rhetoric has actually inspired new terrorist threats at home. 

“The need to keep our country safe from terrorism remains strong, and I am proud that there has not been another major terrorist attack in the 20 years since September 11th, 2001. We can never forget those who died and those heroes who risked everything to save others. Neither can we forget the way our reactions led to the erosion of civil liberties for some and inspired violence in others. We must continue to learn from those mistakes and ensure that security does not become an excuse to do harm to other communities of color.” 

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“It’s hard to believe that two decades have gone by since the September 11th attacks took place on our country. Many of us remember where we were when we heard the awful news. It was a day that forever changed America and the city I represent. But 20 years later, we have not forgotten those who lost their lives, and the family members who continue to mourn their loss. We will always remember them, and the courageous first responders who answered the call and gave their lives to save others. They all will remain in our hearts forever, and I ask all Americans to keep them in their thoughts and prayers on this difficult and painful day.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip: 

“20 years ago today, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists, the vast majority of whom were Saudis, launched an attack on the United States, killing nearly 3,000 people on one of the darkest days in American history. We will never forget those who lost their lives that day. As we continue to mourn and honor the lives of the victims, we are also reminded of the bravery shown by the firefighters, first responders, and regular citizens who courageously risked their own lives to help their fellow Americans. On this painful anniversary, I’m praying for all those impacted by the events of 9/11 and remain hopeful for a future free of terrorism and violence.”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07): 

“As we acknowledge that our own government implemented harmful policies that unfairly profiled and targeted Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities in the two decades since September 11, 2001, we must also celebrate that these very communities have met these challenges with unwavering courage, strength, compassion, and resilience while uniting to advocate for civil and human rights — work which continues to benefit all Americans to this day.” 

“While finally acknowledging the climate of hate that Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian and Sikh communities have experienced over the last 20 years, we must also pledge to fully condemn all manifestations and expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, scapegoating, and ethnic or religious bigotry in the days ahead.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17):

“We will never forget the victims of 9/11 and are forever indebted to the heroic first responders who risked their lives for our country. Part of remembering and healing for our nation requires educating the public about the backlash, discrimination, and violence that Muslim, Middle Eastern, Arab, Sikh, & South Asian Americans faced in the aftermath of 9/11 and continue to face today. On this sobering anniversary, we must redouble our efforts to honor our heroes, seek justice for the families, and end the discrimination against these impacted communities.”

Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-05):

“Today marks twenty years since our nation was attacked and forever reshaped. To the brave service members and first responders who sacrificed their lives, their health, and their wellbeing on that day, and in the years since, we are profoundly grateful. To the family members of those fallen, we honor the memory of your loved ones and your incredible loss. To the Muslim Americans who have suffered discrimination in the wake of 9/11, we vow to do better. And to the children who have grown up never knowing an America not at war, we will continue our work for peace.

“There is much to be done to make our country, and our world, a place free from the threats of terrorism and the legacy of that awful day, and today we recommit ourselves to a more peaceful, tolerant, and just future.”

Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04):

“Today, we mark 20 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks. The victims of 9/11 will live forever in our memories, and we will never forget the heroism of the first responders who put themselves at great risk to save others. After the attacks, Americans came together to rebuild, but we also saw a rise in discrimination and hate crimes against members of the Muslim, Sikh, and Asian-American communities. Today, I stand with my CAPAC colleagues to remember the victims of 9/11, honor the heroes, and recognize the diversity that makes America strong.”