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Public Intervention (2004 – present)

On 25 March 1911 the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire  took the lives of 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women and girls, and galvanized a movement for social and economic justice.

Each year since 2004, on the anniversary of the infamous blaze, volunteers fan out across the city to inscribe in chalk the names and ages of the Triangle dead in front of their former homes. Chalk is a kind of land art for the Anthropocene. Using the local elements – asphalt, chalk, humans – found in the cityscape. Footsteps and rain will erase the memorial but in a demonstration of the power of collective action, the following year others will return, insisting on the memory of these lost young workers.


If you would like to participate in Chalk 2024 let me know!

Download the Chalk 2021 flier here.


…trusting the people is the indispensable precondition for revolutionary change. -Paulo Freire

Please also see See You in the Streets, Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, Gaza Ghetto.

Photo Credits: Roy Campolongo, Cary Conover, Marjorie Ingall, LES Girls Club, Rob Linné, Matt Levy, Ileana Montalvo, Joel Spivak, Kevin Walter
Triangle Family Members: Suzanne Pred Bass, Diane Fortuna, Maltese Family, Lansner Family
Music: Di Fire Korbunes [excerpt] arranged + recorded byEve Sicular + Metropolitan Klezmer, 2011. Published by Louis Gilrod & David Meyerowitz, 1911.
Thank you: Workers United, Kheel Center

To view the map full screen, please click here
To view the database table of the Triangle dead including their addresses and other information, please click here.

The list of names was originally based on the work of David von Drehle and updated based on information from Triangle family members, the Kheel Center and ongoing research by John Leonard and Michael Hirsch. If you have info or suggestions – let me know! Many thanks to the technical genius + kind heart of John Schimmel.

History of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, created for the 2021 union commemoration.

Penn South Archive Project

Penn South Archive Project

Public Intervention (2023)

Who said an immigrant garment worker’s union could erect an affordable housing project smack dab in the middle of Manhattan??

No one.

But they did it anyway!

Penn South was built by the labor movement to provide affordable housing for working people within walking distance of their jobs. It opened in 1962 and has remained a beacon of the power of collective action to this day. For the past year I have been working with the good folks of Penn South to create an archive and oral history of this bold social experiment.

The collection and a short film will be online and available to the public in Spring 2023.


Please also see See You in the Streets, Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, Voices of 9.11.

146 Workers

146 Workers

Public Intervention (2021)

A collaboration by Ruth Sergel, Esther Cohen, Sherry Kane, LuLu LoLo
May Chen, Gary Shoichet, Rachel Bernstein, Edvige Giunta, Ed Vargas, Mary Anne Trasciatti, May Chen, Ernesto L. Martinez

Please also see: See You in the Streets, Chalk, Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition,

Please see below for ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation + Chinese (Mandarin) simulcast.

Lizzie Adler Rabbi Michael Feinberg Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
Anna Altman Chesa Boudin DA San Francisco
Vincenza Bellotto Araceli Torres NY Nail Salon Workers Association
Vincenza Benanti Gina Pollara Triangle Fire Memorial Project
Yetta Berger Donna Schaper Minister
Essie Bernstein Sandra Lennon Division Chair, Private Lines, Transport Workers Union Local 100
Jacob Bernstein Ellen Gruber Garvey Triangle Family
Morris Bernstein Dr. Sarah Sayeed Chair & Executive Director, NYC Civic Engagement Commission
Abraham Binevitz Ahava Dopha Lifelong Activist
Gussie Bierman Deborah Berke Founder, Deborah Berke Partners, Dean, Yale School of Architecture, Triangle Fire Memorial Competition, Jury Chair
Caterina Bona Giannattasio Marie Sainta Desravines Home Health Aide, Local 1199 SEIU
Rosa Bona Bassino Fr. John Mulreany SJ, The Church of St. Francis Xavier & Rev. Angelo Plodari CS, Our Lady of Pompeii Church
Rosie Brenman Izzy Kossoy Youth Activist
Sarah Brenman Sarah Tabak Youth Activist
Ida Brodsky Shirley Martin Vice President, Car Equipment, Transport Workers Union Local 100
Sarah Brodsky Anne Winslow Nurse Practitioner (Retired) Texas
Ada Brucks El Puente Leaders for Peace and Justice
Laura Brunetti Oona Adams Laborers’ Local 79 & daughter Sadie Bunting
Josephine Cammarata Pablo Lizardo Porter, Local 32BJ SEIU
Francesca Caputo Union Health Center, NYC
Josephine Carlisi Anna Crull Student
Albina Caruso Rep. William J. Pascrell, Jr. Co-Chair Italian-American Congressional Delegation
Anna Ciminello Jamie E. Troise Triangle Family
Rosina Cirrito Adriana Fuente Hair Salon Worker
Anna Cohen Rural & Migrant Ministry’s Youth Empowerment Program
Anna Colletti Jenny Sandoval & Maria Gallardo NY Metropolitan Area Joint Board, Workers United SEIU
Sarah Cooper Barbara Byers Artist
Michelina Cordiano Perfecto Arroyo United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2013 & Paul Sherry Minister
Bessie Dashefsky Diana Feldman Triangle Family
Josie Del Castillo Robert Del Castillo Triangle Family
Clara Dockman Helmar Cooper Actor
Kalman Donick Elliot & Emily Steinberg Triangle Family
Nettie Driansky Rita Bobry Triangle Family
Celia (Civia) Eisenberg Allison Rose Kestenbaum Triangle Family
Dora Evens Heather Graham Actor
Rebecca Feibisch Edgar Romney Secretary-Treasurer, Workers United SEIU
Yetta Fichtenholtz Wally Lamb Writer
Daisy Lopez Fitze Elissa Sampson New Yorker
Grazia (Maria) Floresta Sonia Goldstein Artist, Activist
Max Florin Steven Kolb Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)
Concettina Franco Dr. Fedele Vero Triangle Family
Rose Friedman Ann Newman Bacal Activist, Actor
Diana Gerjuoy Rosalyn Smith Beyond Incarceration Program Manager, Vday
Masha Gerstein Yeohlee Teng Designer YEOHLEE
Celia Gitlin Margaret Randall Writer
Esther Goldstein Jordan, Hudson & Nolan Hix Students
Lena Goldstein Eduardo Student
Mary Goldstein Peter Vasquez Student
Yetta Goldstein Michele and Pamela Esterman Triangle Family
Rosa Grasso Lori Reich Triangle Family
Bertha Greb V (Formerly Eve Ensler) Playwright, Activist
Rachel Grossman Felix Cavalieri Young Rascals
Mary Herman Bhavin Antala Pharmacist
Esther Hochfield Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall
Fannie Hollander Jon Michael Unhoused & Sam LaPell Student
Pauline Horowitz Cheryl Clarke Lesbian Poet
Ida Jukofsky Usha Kaul Student
Ida Kanowitz Anna Luczaj & Joe Soto Commercial Cleaners, Local 32BJ SEIU
Tessie Kaplan Mani Ivatury Student Ed Vargas & Elizabeth Weiner
Beckie Kessler Ellen Cassedy Co-founder, 9 to 5 Office Workers Association
Jacob Klein Joanne Borts Chorus Councillor, Actors’ Equity Association
Beckie Koppelman Romeo Guy Letter Carrier
Bertha Kula Doreen Wohl Lifelong Activist, Clara Lemlich Awardee
Tillie Kupferschmidt Breena Clark Novelist
Benjamin Kurtz Senator Elizabeth Warren
Marianna (Annie) L’Abbate Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church
Fannie Lansner Erica Lansner Triangle Family
Jennie Lederman Myriam Hernandez NY Communities for Change
Max Lehrer Richard Joon Yoo Triangle Fire Memorial Co-Designer & sons Lev & Jonah
Sam Lehrer Uri Wegman Triangle Fire Memorial Co-Designer
Kate Leone Judy Heumann Disability Rights Activist
Mary Leventhal Ai-Jen Poo Executive Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Jennie Levin Joanna Kerns Director, Actor
Pauline Levine Da Homeless Hero
Nettie Liebowitz Gay Novack Triangle Family
Rose Liermark Amy Goodman Journalist
Bettina Maiale Mary Anne Trasciatti President, Remember the Triangle Fire
Coalition & daughter Bridget Caslowitz FIT, class of 2021
Francesca Maiale Tierra Williams Organizer, Laborers’ Local 79
Caterina Maltese James McGill Triangle Family
Lucia Maltese Kimberly Schiller Teacher
Rosarea Maltese Deborah Brown Women’s Liaison, Family & Women’s Assistance, Transport Workers Union Local 100
Rose Mankofsky Steven Greenhouse Labor Journalist
Rose Mehl Kalpona Akter President, Bangladesh Garment & Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF)
Yetta Meyers Khanyisile Ndaba Student, Capetown & New York City
Gaetana Midolo Arlender Nuñez Garifuna Community Leader & daughters Arieth & Leylani
Annie Miller Elise Bryant President, Coalition of Labor Union Women
Maria Miraglia Heather McHale Amber Light Society IBEW Local 3 & Steamfitters
Beckie Neubauer Anne Marie Zaren Philadelphia Joint Board, Workers United SEIU
Annie Nicholas Debbie & Mark Wells Triangle Family
Michelina Nicolosi Kristen Herman Physical Therapist
Sadie Nussbaum Sara Nelson President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
Julia Oberstein Ariella Resnikoff-Diaz Student
Rose Oringer Mike Farrell Actor, Activist
Beckie Ostrovsky Seth Goldman Taxi Driver
Annie Pack Maya Bernstein Barista
Provvidenza Panno Nicole Vecchione Laborers’ Eastern Region Organizing Fund
Anna Pasqualicchio Ardito Katie Quan Former ILGWU Organizer
Antonietta Pasqualicchio Ellen Bravo Co-Founder, Family Values @ Work Network
Ida Pearl Roberta Reardon NYS Commissioner of Labor
Jennie Pildescu Analilia Mejia Deputy Director, Women’s Bureau, US Dept of Labor & Luz Mejia ILGWU Retiree
Vincenza Pinello Jose Antonio Vargas Founder, Define American
Emilia Prato Larry Goldbetter President, National Writers Union
Concetta Prestifilippo Robert Forrant Professor of History, UMass Lowell
Beckie Reines Ann Toback CEO, Workers Circle
Fannie Rosen Cheryl Wilkins Director, Women Transcending
Israel Rosen Davena Rattipal Student, Triangle Fire Course, NJ City University
Julia Rosen Etrita Abdullahu Student, Triangle Fire Course, NJ City University
Louis (Loeb) Rosen Rachel Swersey Triangle Family
Yetta Rosenbaum Nina Shapiro-Perl SEIU, PhD, Filmmaker, Anthropologist
Jennie Rosenberg Michelle Miller Co-Executive Director of
Gussie Rosenfeld Alice Ip ILGWU Local 23-25, 1982 Chinatown Strike Organizer
Emma Rothstein Luis Argueta Filmmaker, Guatemala & NY
Theodore Rotner Clayola Brown President, A Philip Randolph Institute & Civil, Human & Women’s Rights Director, AFL-CIO
Sarah Sabasowitz Jessica Garcia Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
Santina Salemi Lou Miano Triangle Family
Serafina Saracino LuLu LoLo Performance Artist, Playwright, Actor, RTFC Board Member
Teresa Saracino Adrienne Andi Sosin & Joel Sosinsky RTFC Board Secretary Co-Authors of The NYC Triangle Factory Fire
Gussie Schiffman Susan Zugaib Director, Labor Chorus Anya Pathania
Theresa Schmidt Wendy Chun-Hoon Director, Women’s Bureau, US Dept of Labor
& Dashiell
Ethel Schneider Scott Grabell Berlin, Great Grandson of Ethel Monnick, Survivor
Velye Schochet Zelde Malevitz Triangle Family
Golda Schpunt Gale Brewer Manhattan Borough President
Margaret Schwartz Josie Perez Fruit and Vegetable Vendor
Jacob Seltzer Jack Robinson Firefighter with granddaughters Jojo & Ginny
Rosie Shapiro Erik Bottcher Politician
Ben Sklover Lisa Hazirjian Strategist & Organizer
Rose Sorkin Mei Lum Wing on Wo (WOW)
Annie Starr Vivian Sorenson Triangle Family
Jennie Stein Rona Doorry Homecare Worker Betty Odabashian Artist & Shole Minnick Student
Giovanna Stellino Shi Greene Construction Worker, Laborers’ Local 79, Mentor, Pathways to Apprenticeship
Jennie Stiglitz Shauna Irving Electrician, IBEW Local 3, Graduate, Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW)
Sam Taback Jose Luis Ortiz Artist, Mexico & NY
Clotilde Terranova Rose Marie Miele Triangle Family Ester Rizzo Scrittrice, Licata, Italy
Isabella Tortorelli Mallory Briancesco, Rory (6) Holly (10 months) Sutton (4), Triangle Family
Maria Giuseppa Tortorelli Lauletta Mallory Briancesco, Rory (6) Holly (10 months) Sutton (4), Triangle Family
Meyer Utal Michael Zweig Teacher
Catherine Uzzo Jean Hervey VP, SW Region, Workers United SEIU
Frieda Velakofsky Sara Kozlowski VP, CFDA Foundation, Education & Sustainability Initiatives
Bessie Viviano Rita Margules Clara Lemlich’s daughter
Rosie Weiner Emily Bass Triangle Family
Sarah Weintraub Lynn Southerland Animation Producer/Director
Tessie Wiesner Jonel Beauvais & daughter Milany Oakes Akwesasne Mohawk Nation
Dora Welfowitz Donna Chin Teacher
Bertha Wendroff Emma Virjan Artist
Joseph Wilson Elizabeth Wilson Triangle Family
Sonia Wisotsky Bryan, Barbara & Aden Mosak Triangle Family

Workers United, NY Central Labor Council, Workers Circle

Jane Margules, Jude Calder & Richard Harkness, Laura Farrell & Adam Bernstein, Ester Rizzo, Maribeth Whitehouse, Lou Mandarini, Mary Ann Hacker, Serphin R. Maltese, Leigh Benin, Nechemia Aaron Oberstein, Davidson Garrett

Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition

Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition

Public Intervention (2008 – present)

In anticipation of the 2011 Centennial of the infamous fire, Ruth founded the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition. The focus of the Coalition was on a legacy of the fire which is no less true today then in 1911 – that your choice as an individual to be active or passive in civic engagement has a direct impact on our broader community. Over a three year period, the Coalition grew into a national network of over 250 partners who created hundreds of educational, activist and creative actions across the country. You can see a full listing of Centennial events here.

The Coalition continues today to spearhead the movement to create a permanent memorial to the Triangle workers.


If you’re in a coalition and you’re comfortable, you know it’s not a broad enough coalition. – Bernice Johnson Reagon

Participating Organizations A Besere Velt (A Better World): Yiddish Community Chorus of Boston Workmen’s Circle • Adelphi University • Alta Gracia Apparel • American Experience, PBS • American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark • American Labor Studies Center • American Society of Safety Engineers • Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama • Ann Maria Bell • Annie Lanzillotto • Archbishop Carney High School • BAAD! • Babcock Galleries • Barre Historical Society • The Bay Ridge Historical Society • Timothy Beaty • Berkeley City College’s Arts and Cultural Studies Department • Boston College Department of Theatre • Bread and Roses Centennial Committee • Bread and Roses Heritage Committee • Brooklyn College Alumni Assoc. Mid-New Jersey Chapter • Brooklyn Historical Society • Brooklyn Women’s Chorus • Brotherhood Synagogue • Jane Bugnand • Caraid O’Brien • Carolina Center for Jewish Studies • Center for the Study of Labor and Democracy • City Reliquary Museum & Civic Organization • Coalition For A New Village Hospital • College of Staten Island/CUNY • Dean’s Circle, NYU • Def Dance Jam Workshop • Department of Romance Languages/Hunter College, CUNY • Diane Lutz • Dianich Gallery • Downtown Art • Drama Bookshop • Duane Cook • East Harlem Preservation Inc. • Education & Labor Collaborative • Elaine Ocasio • Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts • Experimental Geography in Practice • First Class PR Agency — Hofstra University • The Forward • Frances Perkins Center • Friends of the Bowie Library • Gettysburg Stage • Global Education Motivators • Gotham Center for NYC History • Greater Astoria Historical Society • Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition • Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation • Grey Art Gallery, New York University • Hebrew Free Burial Association • Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation • Cynthia Impala • Injured Workers Unite Coalition of ConnectiCOSH • Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights • International Labor Rights Forum • IS 190 – Class 002 • Italian American Writers’ Association • J. Taylor Finley Middle School • JCC CenterStage • Jewish Community Action • Jewish Labor Committee • Jewish Women’s Archive • Jews for Racial and Economic Justice • Joyce Gold History Tours of New York • Juan Morel Campos Secondary School • Judea Reform Congregation • Kavana Cooperative • L Cunniff Productions • La Fuente: NYCPP and LICPP • Labor and Working Class History Association • LaborArts • LaborFest • Lallan Schoenstein and Gary E. Wilson • Latinas Against FDNY Cuts • Levy’s Unique New York • Looking for Lilith Theatre Company • Los Angeles LaborFest • Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy • Lower East Side Tenement Museum • LuLu LoLo Productions • Lyric Stage • Manhattan Choral Ensemble • Memory Melody • Merchant’s House Museum • Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America • Metropolitan Klezmer • Meyer London Family • Microrevolt • Mount Sinai-IJ Selikoff Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine • Murphy Institute for Worker Education/CUNY • Museum at Eldridge Street • Museum of the City of New York • My New York City Tours • Nassau Reading Council • National Labor Committee • New York City Fire Museum • New York Labor History Association • New York Society for Ethical Culture • New York State Department of Labor • Roger Newell • NewFilmmakers • Next Generation Bay Area • Nina Haft & Company • NOW – NYC • NYS Communist Party • NYS Immigrant Action Fund • Occupational and Environmental Health Center of Eastern NY • Open Ink Productions • Parachute Project • Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee • Pipe Nozzle • PS 65 Bronx, NY • Remember the Women Institute • Rory Lancman, NYS Assembly • Safety Priority • San Francisco Mime Troupe • Sheep’s Nose Farm • Sisters in the Building Trades • Society of Fire Protection Engineers – Metropolitan NY Chapter • Brian Spaulding • St. John the Divine • St. John’s University – Staten Island Campus • Stanton Street Shul • Staten Island Democratic Association • Staten Island OutLOUD • Street Pictures • Street Vendor Project • SUNY Albany School of Public Health, CPHCE • Suzanne Beahrs and Dancers • SweatFree Communities • Tellers2 • The Actors Company Theatre • Theater for the New City • Theorizing Women’s Activism • Ti Piace Italian American Presentations, Inc • Todd Mountain Theater Project • Tottenville High School Women’s Chorus • Triangle Concert • Triangle Jazz Project • Triangle Letter Project • Triangle Project LLC • Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Memorial • United National Anti-War Committee • United University Professions/Stony Brook • University of Iowa – The Labor Center • University of Iowa Theater Department • Annie Schneiderman Valliere • W4 New Music Collective • West End Synagogue • Widener Triangle Centennial Committee • Women and Gender Studies Program at Hunter College (CUNY) • Women’s City Club of New York • Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring Michigan • Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring • Worksafe • Yeshiva University Museum Sponsors Albert Catalano • American Social History Project • Andrea Coyle – Lower East Side History Project • Andrew + Miriam Sanello • Annmarie Brown • Barbara Burrell • Barbara Campbell • The Bay Ridge Historical Society • Beatrice Vargas, in memoriam • Bill Russo • Blair Brewster • Bricklayers & Allied Craftsworkers Local 1 NY • Brindle-Khym Family • Burt Swersey • Carol & Harold Sader • Charles Levenstein • Chelsea Reform Democratic Club • Ching Wong + Mary Yee • CSEA • Cynthia Drew • David Kook • David Prouty • David von Drehle • Diane Fortuna • Dianna Maeurer • Donna Nevel • Edgar & Gladys Romney • Elaine Ferranti-Kenndy • Ellen Wiley Todd • Ethix Ventures Inc. • Family of Rose Schneiderman • Fashion Institute of Technology • Gennaro Pecchia • Hal Tepfer • Hanna Griff-Sleven • H. Theodore Cohen • Harry Robbins • Henry Street Settlement • Heriberto Vargas • Italian American Writers’ Association • Janet E. Garvey • Jo Ann E Argersinger • Jo Hamilton • John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, CUNY • Joyce Mendelsohn • Judith Polson • Judith Stonehill • Kate Bostock Shefferman + Jesse Shefferman • Kevin Foley • Labor – Religion Coalition of New York State • Labor and Working Class History Association • League of Women Voters of the City of New York • Lee Feuerstein • Lynn Steuer • Maria Elena Capaldo • Maria La Russo • Marian Gray • Marise Hausner • Martha Fleischman • Mary Hirsch • May Ying Chen • Nancy Lorence • Nassau Reading Council • Natalie Sosinsky • National Consumers League • New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) • New York State United Teachers • Norman Reisman • NY/NJ Regional Board Workers United/SEIU • Paradiso-Parthas Press / Feile-Festa • Rekindling Reform • Robert Forrant • Rosemarie Ottomanelli • Rosina Cirrito Descendents • Roy Campolongo • Ryan Heffernan • Save Chelsea • Social Democrats, USA • Socialist Party of New York City • Steven & Ellen Eshchuk • Susan Cowell • Susan Lee • Suzanne Wasserman • Tom Lansner • Turning Point Acupuncture • UNITE HERE • United College Employees of FIT • United Jewish People’s Order • Veemin + Kitty Yee • Walter McClatchey, Jr • Washington Square Hotel • Washington State Coalition of Labor Women • Women’s eNews Change Agents 21st Century ILGWU Heritage Fund • American Society of Safety Engineers • Rachel Bernstein • Linda Bertoldi & W.A. Bogart • Blowback Productions • Louis Blumengarten • Change to Win • Esther Cohen • Cooper Union • HBO • Evelyn Jones Rich • Judson Memorial Church • Sherry Kane • Kheel Center – ILR School, Cornell • Labor Arts • Daniel Levinson Wilk • Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America • New York City Central Labor Council • New York Council for the Humanities • New York University Community Fund • Sidney Hillman Foundation • Suzanne Pred Bass • Schwarz Family Foundation • Adrienne Andi Sosin + Joel Sosinsky • Sparkplug Foundation • Sheryl Woodruff • Workers United, NY NJ Joint Board • United College Employees of FIT

Voices of 9.11


A People’s Archive (2002 – 2003)


Who gets to tell the story of September 11, 2001?

Voices of 9.11 is a collection of over 500 video testimonies recorded in 2002-2003 in New York City, Shanksville, PA, Washington D.C. and the Pentagon. At a time when language to describe the event was still being formed, the project was explicitly designed to give each individual agency over the story of their own lived experience. Inside a homemade video booth the participant started + stopped their own recording, they could speak for as long or short a time as they wished and in whatever language they felt most comfortable. Together we created this people’s archive of September 11, 2001.

In 2021, Voices of 9.11 was the basis of a feature documentary directed by Bjørn Johnson and David Belton. Memory Box; Echoes of 9/11 premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, aired on MSNBC and is currently screening on the Peacock network.

Voices of 9.11 was developed at here is new york: a democracy of photographs. In 2011 the entire collection was made available to the public online. Today the Voices of 9.11 collection is jointly held by the New-York Historical Society and the September 11 Digital Archive which has initiated a long term plan to donate its entire collection to the Library of Congress for permanent preservation.

View the Voices of 9.11 testimonies.

Please also see See You in the Streets, Chalk, Gaza Ghetto, Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition

Art is whatever lowers barriers and creates real communication across impassable barriers. To use it to create passions to fight for an issue is not art, it is the opposite of it, because it is not lowering or transcending barriers. Art is the only thing that can bridge or transcend or transform in real and lasting ways. And that is what it is. It makes connections with others very different from ourselves – – including our enemies and including hidden neglected unknown parts of ourselves that are wakened and drawn forth. – Maryat Lee, Radical Theater


There is a particular kind of hurt when the reality of our lived experience is denied. We grow twisted, bonsai limbs, trying to shape ourselves to a story that will never fit. Droplets of lead steadily fill each pore, a bit uncomfortable at first, until suddenly we find we can’t move our features at all.

In the immediate aftermath of September 11 there was a hush as we stood stark before the enormity of what had happened. Then a rush of sound; sirens, voices, broadcast newscasters and politicians. People trying to be authoritative even when they didn’t really know what had happened themselves.

Certain kinds of stories found amplification. They told of heroism, American can-do spirit. Those who complicated the narrative were quickly silenced. Voices, that spoke of sadness, confusion and searching questions, were held back until we could no longer hear them and forgot that they existed at all.

Grief requires an expanse. The field is filled with the shards of our exploded lives. It is an arduous process to shape the pieces of your story back into something that can be survived. Some people, good people, hard working people, people who are loved, do not make it.

I made Voices of 9.11 because I knew grief. I wanted to create a place where people could be held while doing the necessary work of crafting their story. Where each person’s contribution is a gift that adds to our collective project of humanity and understanding of the world.

I made Voices of 9.11 because I cherish our imperfect union. As a nation we plunged forward in out dated models of revenge and retaliation, missing an opportunity to learn from the expertise of others who have lived experience with terror both abroad and at home. The cost of that missed conversation is all around us.

I am deeply grateful to all the people who bravely shared their story in 2002-2003. I think of you, wonder about your lives and very much hope that you are well and thriving. Thank you for collaborating to make this people’s archive possible.

My heartfelt thanks to all the people who worked so hard behind the scenes to create and sustain Voices of 9.11.

Each of us is already weaving the threads for what happens next in our story. It is a good fight to dream boldly, refusing the co-optation of our imaginative worlds. Our stories hold a wild freedom. They can bust open possibility, reach around the globe, even touch other generations. They never exist in isolation but always reveal a joyous disorder of threads running out and through the stories of others. Shimmering, waving, we tilt into the light of our collective future.

Ruth Sergel
NYC 2021


Voices of 9.11 has been exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Théâtre de la Ville (Paris) and the New York Historical Society. The project was the basis for the feature length documentary Memory Box; Echoes of 9/11 directed by Bjørn Johnson + David Belton.

Recordings (2002 – 2003)
Created by Ruth Sergel
NYC Director: Pamela Griffiths
Washington DC/Pentagon: Laura Doggett, Vicki Warren, Lara McPherson
Pennsylvania: Andrea Star Reese
Booth Design: Tim Main
Technical Design & Support: Paul Constantine, David Griffiths, Juan Molinari, Steve Robison, Daniel Valdez.
Additional Support: Martha K. Babcock, Maggie Berkvist, Cynthia Dartley, Abigail Feldman, Kerin Ferallo, Karen Jaroneski, Mary Liao, Rosalind Lichter, Brenda English Manes, Jay Manis, Christine McAndrews, Stephanie Schenppe, Deborah Schwartz, Nelly Sidotti, Fernanda Malarazzo Suplicy, Nancy Tongue, Aaron Traub, Mary Traub, Amy Wentz, Mandy Yu.

Thank you to Michael Shulan, Mark Lubell, Charles Traub & all at here is new york: a democracy of photographs.

*** * *** * ***
Website (2011)
Ruth Sergel, Jude Calder, Laura Doggett, Pamela Griffiths, Nancy Tongue.
Translations: Lana Cheung, Sherry Kane, Peter von Salis
Additional Support: Magnus Pind Bjerre, Juan Molinari, Aaron Traub.

The 2011 project to bring all of Voices of 9.11 online is made possible by the generous support of our donors:
Anonymous, Martha Ann Babcock, John Barnes, Suzanne Pred Bass, Therese Baxter, Mary Berke, Maggie Berkvist, Lou Blumengarten, Christina Campanella, Roy Campolongo, Sybil Cohen, Theresa Curtin, Suzanne Epstein, Kerin Ferallo, Carol Fleming, Jörg Fockele, Nicole Franklin, Lyn Gale, Brian Garrick, Marsha Gildin, Steven Harkness, Carol J. Howard, Rose Imperaton, Gloria Jacobs, Allison Kestenbaum, Peilin Kuo, Marvin Kupfer, LuLu LoLo, Laura Lomer, Jay Manis, Lynne McQuaker, Carla Meyer, James Miller, Susan Patner, Lewis Rothenberg, Deborah Schwartz, Eva J von Schweinitz, Laura Shapiro, Andi Sosin, Mark Tabashnick, Judith Treesberg, Sheryl Woodruff, Ellen Yaroshefsky, Anna Yusim, Lori Zaumseil.

Special thanks!
Tricia Clark
Barbara Vyden
Vicki Warren

Thank you to Steve Brier and the September 11 Digital Archive and Marilyn Kushner and Jennifer Schantz of the New-York Historical Society for their support of this project.

How many testimonies are in the collection?
Approximately 550

How many hours of recordings?
Aproximately 120 hours

Where were the recordings made?
Voices of 9.11 was created at here is new york: a democracy of photographs in two locations: a temporary space on 6th Ave + 42nd Street and at 118 Prince Street. Additional recordings were made at the Staten Island Historical Society. A mobile team traveled to Shanksville, PA. The Voices of 9.11 video booth was at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC in Fall 2002 and inside the Pentagon in January and February 2003.

What is included in each post?
The date of the recording
The location of the recording
The V# of the recording

What’s a V#?
The V# indicates where the recording was made NYC (V0000-V0327), Staten Island (V0400-V0413), Shanksville, PA (V1001-V1010), Washington DC (V2000-V2092), Pentagon (V3000-3133).

What was the technical set up of the video booth?
Download V911 Tech Schematic

Where is my testimony?
You can search for your testimony on the Voices of 9.11 website by typing your name in the search box on the right.

Can I get a digital copy of my testimony?
Yes! We greatly appreciate all who participated in the project. Please contact me to request a copy of your testimony.

I would like to add a written update to my testimony
Please do! Simply email me the text you would like to have added.

Can I get a copy of someone else’s testimony?
No, we only provide digital copies to the people who participated in the project.

I would like to have my testimony removed from the website.
Please contact us and we will remove your testimony.

If you have other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.