humanity

Humanity topics include pieces on the real lives of politicians, legislators, activists, women in politics and the everyday voter.

  • Phoenix Blair
    Published 7 days ago
    My Personal 9/11 Survival Story

    My Personal 9/11 Survival Story

    For me the morning of September 11th started out like any other. I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter, my now ex-husband and myself had an apartment that was a block away from the World Trade Center. We had a mutual friend visiting from out of state. My ex and our friend had woken up before I did and were having their morning coffee out on the fire escape. They were just sitting there shooting the breeze while enjoying their morning coffee when they saw the very first plane hit the North Tower of the WTC. I was immediately awoken by the loud bang and the violent shaking of our apartment due to the impact of the plane entering the WTC. I jumped up out of bed and ran for the living room. I could see out to where my ex and our buddy were standing staring off towards the WTC plaza. I’m of course curious to find out where the bang had come from and what had caused it. My ex turned to see me heading his way and immediately ran to try and stop me from seeing what was going down. I finally managed to push past him and followed our buddies gaze until I saw exactly what he was looking at. It was like something out of a movie. There was a huge gaping hole in the tower and large amounts of black smoke pouring out of the tower. My first thought was that it had to be an accident caused by pilot error, because in NYC planes are not even allowed to use any of the airspace near the financial district due to how tall the buildings are. Then out of nowhere another plane comes through and crashes right into the South Tower. This absolutely freaks me out, cause now we all knew that this wasn’t an accident. We now knew we were under attack. We just had no idea who had attacked us or why. I immediately grabbed my camera (which I had been using to document my pregnancy and the progress we were making setting up the nursery) and I ran out to the street. There were emergency vehicles flying past us making their way up the street to the WTC. I started taking pictures of the chaos in the streets. There were people running toward us away from the buildings, some were covered in blood, others were burned, their clothes were torn and they looked dazed. As we got closer to the buildings we could see cops and firefighters and EMT’s running into the buildings as they were burning. There were businesses that began handing out bottles of water and I swear every single New Yorker in the city was out on the streets watching this all happen. All of a sudden we felt the ground begin to shake as if we were experiencing an earthquake, we heard people shouting that one of the towers was falling, and we all took off running in opposite directions. I remember ducking into a store and waiting out the collapse. I remember seeing clouds of dust enveloping what had once been a clear city street. When things appeared to calm down outside we stepped out of the shop in which we had taken sanctuary and all we could see, smell and taste was dust. We decided to try and make our way back up to the WTC plaza due to the fact that I wanted to get pictures of the aftermath. As we once again made our way there the ground beneath our feet began to shake once again, we had actually made it close enough this time so when the next tower started to fall we could actually hear the creaking of what I assume were the support beams of the tower as they began to twist and give way. I remember there was an NYPD officer directing people to leave the area, telling them to head west towards the bridge. As I stood in the middle of Church and Vessy St snapping pics the officer came up to me and told me that the second tower was fixing to fall and that I needed to haul ass out of the area immediately. I turned and began walking away, heading back toward where my ex and our buddy had stood waiting for me. We began heading back home and all of a sudden there came an extremely loud sound coming from the direction of the WTC, it sounded like a freight train. I remember looking back and just praying I’d make it home alive before the next collapse. It didn’t happen. I remember feeling arms grabbing me around my waist and the next thing I knew I was being tossed under a parked car, when I looked to see who had put me there I saw the cop who had been directing people away from the tower. He told me as calmly as he could to stay put for mine and my unborn babies safety. I watched him disappear into the dust cloud. I never did get to thank the NYPD officer who saved my life because I was later told that he had ended up being killed by debris that was falling from the tower during the collapse. Once the last tower had finished collapsing I pulled myself out from under the car and I looked around at the once clear sky that now looked dark, there was dust caked all over everything and everyone, including myself. I searched for my camera so that I could continue taking photos but it had been destroyed when I was tossed under the car. I began to quickly try to remember where I was, see my eyes were so irritated from the dust in the air that it made it hard to see anything. I decided to try and find some place where I could wash out my eyes as well as my mouth. I ran into the 7-Eleven and grabbed a couple bottles of spring water, stepped up to the counter to pay for it and the manager told me they were on the house so I thanked him and left the store. Once outside I removed the cap from the first bottle and immediately poured it over my face, making sure to rinse my eyes out as best I could. I then opened the second bottle, took a swig then proceeded to swish and gargle until my mouth and throat weren’t as dry and scratchy as they were before. I then realized that I had become separated from my husband and our buddy when the second tower fell. I wondered if they had made it back to the apartment so I decided to head back home to find out. On my way back to my apartment I could hear chirping sounds coming from where the buildings had once stood. I saw fire trucks, police cars and an ambulance that had all been crushed by falling debris and covered with mounds of dust, it was like a nuclear winter. I decided to get a closer look so I headed toward the rubble; there I was stopped by an NYPD officer as well as an emt who both decided that I needed to be checked out due to the fact that I was pregnant and had just survived the collapse of two buildings. I tried telling them that I was fine and that I was looking for my husband and our buddy which prompted them to ask me if we had been in the buildings to which I replied that we hadn’t. I then gave them the rundown on my situation and told them that I really needed to get home because if my husband were there right now he’d be worried about me. After they had finished checking me over they allowed me to go. Before I left I did ask the emt about the chirping noises and he told me it was the sound of the locators in the firemen’s jackets. They go off whenever a fireman is lost during a fire. That was when I came to realize just how many people were possibly lost and or killed in the collapsing towers. As I made my way back home I saw hundreds of people covered in dust and blood trying to find phones to call home with. They were scared, injured and just wanted to hear a familiar voice so that they could let their loved ones know that they were okay. That made my need to go home grow even more intense. When I finally got to my building I saw my husband and our buddy talking to a cop outside I immediately ran over to my husband and threw my arms around him. He had thought that I had been either hurt or killed during the collapse. He kept asking me where I had been and if I was okay. I tried answering his questions but when I opened my mouth to do so all I could do was sob. We made our way back up to our apartment and as we walked through the door we saw that our home was also covered in dust and our phone was ringing. My husband led me to our bedroom and sat me on our bed (which was also covered in dust) while he went to answer the phone. Ten minutes later he came back into the room and told me that my mom had called and that he told her I was too upset to talk at the moment but that he would make certain that I called her once I had calmed down. All I could do was nod. He then told me he was going to call his family so that they wouldn’t be worried and with that he left the room. I immediately got up from my bed and decided I would go checkout the nursery to see if it too had been affected. As soon as I stepped in to the nursery I saw that it too was covered in dust and that just upset me more. I had started sobbing so bad I actually fell to the floor. I began feeling as though it was the beginning of the end of the world. When I was finally able to stand I joined my husband and our buddy in the living room where they both were silently sitting on the dust covered couch watching MSNBC. The reporter was saying that the planes that hit the towers had been hijacked by middle eastern Islamic terrorists. They were also reporting that another plane had been crashed into the Pentagon and that another plane had crashed in a field just outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I just couldn’t stand it anymore so I grabbed the cordless phone, stepped out to the fire escape and dialed my mother’s number. I waited and waited for her to pick up but all her phone kept doing was just ringing and ringing so I hung up and decided I would call her back later. I then thought about my aunt who worked at Windows on the World, I frantically dialed her number and got no answer, so I called my cousin (my aunts daughter) to find out if my aunt had had to work that morning. I got my answer as soon as my cousin answered the phone and my stomach turned upside down forcing me to drop the phone and run to the bathroom. My husband had retrieved the phone for me and proceeded to hand it to me as I came out of the bathroom. My cousin was still on the phone so I asked her if she had heard from our cousin who was a fireman with the FDNY or from his father (our uncle) who was a policeman with the NYPD she responded that she hadn’t and told me she’d call me later if she heard anything from anyone in the family about those who were at this point basically considered to be among the missing I promised her that I would do the same and with that we ended our call. As the day went on my husband, myself and our buddy decided we didn’t want to stay in the apartment due to the dust that now covered everything we owned so we decided to go down to Ground Zero as it was now called just to see how close we could get and what we could see. What we saw once at the pit made us sick, sad and angry. We saw landing gear that belonged to one of the planes, we saw a lady’s heel shoe, we saw a menu for Windows on the World (which made my heart sink), we saw lots and lots of papers and we saw a desk, we saw a fireman’s jacket, we saw a pocketbook, a child’s doll, a desk chair and we saw luggage from the planes we also saw body parts scattered all around. The pile was still ablaze and the smoke was acrid. We saw rescue workers with and without masks working the pile in what was considered a search and rescue at the time. Later that day Rudy Giuliani (who was mayor of NYC at the time) had come down to the site to assess the damage and to speak to the workers and to see what was needed for the people down there to do their jobs safely. He also took time to talk to families of those who were missing and he also spoke to people who lived in the neighborhood whose homes were compromised by the twin towers falling. He decided the best thing he could do was to give us all vouchers so that we could stay in hotels until our homes could be cleaned. That was a complete God send for us because we did not want to spend the night in our dust covered apartment. Once we had collected our voucher we headed back to our apartment to pack clothes as well as some other items we would be needing during our stay in the hotel. Once we finished we headed off to the cheapest hotel we could find; we ended up staying at the Best Western. Once we were all checked in we all took turns taking showers it felt nice to get out of our dust covered clothes and to be able to wash all of the grime off of ourselves. Once we finished getting cleaned up we realized that none of us had eaten anything all day so we decided to take a walk to a nearby pizza joint. After getting our food we sat down at a table which sat right directly in front of the store front window. None of us spoke as we ate, we just sat at our little table staring out at what had once been a busy city street that now was silent. It was quite eerie because the city is never quiet but tonight it was so quiet, the only sounds one could hear were the sounds of trucks going to and from Ground Zero. Once we had finished our dinner we decided to head back to the hotel so that we could rest and make phone calls to our loved ones. When we got back to our room I laid myself down on the bed my husband and I would be sharing, our buddy sat down on the bed across from ours while my husband flipped on the tv. We sat quietly rewatching the events of the day unfold once again on the television. I had finally had enough so I picked up the phone which sat on a little night stand that sat between the two beds and I dialed my mother’s number. The phone rang once before my mother answered. She told me how she’d been trying to call me all day and how she had been worried that something had happened to me and proceeded to ask me if I was okay and how she wished I’d move back up to Maine where it would be safer to live and raise a baby. I let her go on and on before finally telling her that I was fine and updating her on the events of my day. I became aware of how exhausted I was so I told me mom that I would call her back in the morning and I told her I loved her and with that we ended our call. As soon as I hung up I rolled over and passed out. It wasn’t a peaceful sleep. I woke up multiple times during the night from nightmares. It seemed like even sleep couldn’t save me from what had happened. The next few days were spent roaming around the streets which had once been busy and full of life but were now deathly quiet except for the noise of all the trucks that came and went from Ground Zero hourly. My husband began making plans for us to return to Maine due to the fact that he now felt that it was no longer safe for us to have and raise our unborn daughter there and due to the fact that both of our families now resided in Maine and he felt the need to be closer to them. We made enquires as to when the bridges and tunnels would be reopened for travel but no one we asked seem to have any answers. We spent the following weeks at the Best Western for sleeping and during the day we could be found trying to salvage what we could from our apartment. I was an emotional wreck. Once we cleaned and packed what we could my husband and our buddy loaded in all into the back of my husbands truck, which thankfully had not been affected by the terror attacks due to the fact that we kept the truck parked in a parking garage down in Broadway. See in the city you don’t really need a car to get around thanks to the subways, taxis and buses. A month later we headed back to Maine. I remember crying as I watched my beautiful city disappear from view. I gave birth to my daughter Kylie 3 days before Halloween. I have been back to NYC more than once since 9/11 and I remember thinking how I missed the old skyline. Life has moved on and we are now 19 years removed from that terrible day and another building now stands in the footprints of where the WTC has been. There is also a memorial and museum. I lost an aunt, an uncle, a cousin and six friends that day. I have kept every newspaper, every magazine, every book, I have seen every movie and every documentary. 9/11 is and always will be my Pearl Harbor.
  • Sarcastic Sloth (Shane Frampton)
    Published 10 days ago
    Rights, Responsibilities, and Morality

    Rights, Responsibilities, and Morality

    As I’ve studied the Constitution and the principles of freedom over the better part of a decade now, I often wondered why there were so many references from the founders concerning the need of the people to be moral and virtuous. As a religious person, I could correlate these quotes with my belief that God will help prosper good people, but from a non-religious standpoint, it did not make sense to me. It was only over the last year or so that it really began to click. Now that I’ve seen it, it seems so obvious. Let’s take a look at it together.
  • Jessica Smith
    Published 11 days ago
    Being Biracial or Multiracial in the 21st Century

    Being Biracial or Multiracial in the 21st Century

    Alright, it's not very often that I discuss race. But given the current political climate in this country, I feel like I should. I want the world to know how I feel about being mixed race in the 21st century in Trump's America. Let's start with my family. I was born to an African American mother and a Caucasian father. My dad's mother is German and English and his father was Jewish. My dad's paternal grandparents came from Russia before World War I in 1910. This region is now known as present day Belarus. My dad said my great grandparents wanted the most American sounding last name possible and it was given. My great grandmother was 14 and my great grandfather was 19. It's possible they married young. Societal norms were much different even in the early 20th century. Before coming to America, they knew very little about it except that it was established by the English. They also knew they could make it big here. When they saw blacks for the first time, they thought all of them came from Africa. They had misconceived notions that if you touched a black person's hair, you'll cut your hands. But they had no exposure to people other than whites especially back in Russia. US History wasn't really taught in the old country.
  • Patrick O'Neill
    Published 12 days ago
    Climate and Immigration

    Climate and Immigration

    I’d like to tell you a story about immigration. Ancestry (dot) com came around a few years ago and was something I was immediately intrigued by. To dig into your own history was something that seemed massively tantalizing. I filled out what I knew of my family trees and I texted and called Grandparents to help fill in more. I was interested in finding out how the people and stories had traveled through history to where I sit and type today.
  • Katrina Mae
    Published 24 days ago
    Dear America

    Dear America

    Dear America,
  • larry wright
    Published 24 days ago
    Do Rich Blacks Support White Gentrification

    Do Rich Blacks Support White Gentrification

    Do Rich Blacks Support white Gentrification?
  • Johann Hollar
    Published 28 days ago
    Things to consider

    Things to consider

    TV/Movies, Comic books, online shows/movies or just life in general, there are many things that you the reader may not consider when you are living life off/online.
  • Janine S White
    Published about a month ago
    What  is homelessness?

    What is homelessness?

    The cause and treatment of homelessness within the United Kingdom is often under debate. The definition and consequential categories are constructed around who is and is not included in the category and this is a cause of ongoing homeless problems.
  • Aditya verma
    Published about a month ago
    LIFE IN THE TIMES OF PANDEMIC

    LIFE IN THE TIMES OF PANDEMIC

    As Novel-corona virus spreads throughout the world the Modi government had to take an important decision of LIFE Vs LIVELIHOOD. The nation has been in lock down for more than 30 days now. The magazine covers an in-detail review of the situation in the country, the problems and impact caused by nationwide lock down society.
  • Arlene Pitts
    Published about a month ago
    HOW CAN THEY ADJOURN?

    HOW CAN THEY ADJOURN?

    I don't get it. I really don't! I'm a United States citizen, worked for 60 some years, disabled now and struggling to keep healthy and alive. Never in the history of my life time has there been a time such as this. People are sick with Covid 19 by the thousands and millions more have died of the coronavirus. Nothing can be trusted as fact. What we know today changes tomorrow or in a few hours. Chaos, confusion, fake news, lies, censorship of medical professionals on the front lines. There may be a drug, but its in short supply. There is no vaccine. "They" are testing a vaccine. No one is sure if it is safe. Distance at three feet, six feet, twelve feet, no sixteen feet! Wear a mask. No don't wear that kind of mask. Wear a shield. Wear gloves, don't wear gloves. Use sanitizer, but make sure it is chemically safe. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, a minute, a minute 30 seconds. You may have the virus if you have a headache, a fever, no taste, no smell, purple toes, a cough, a stuffy nose, fatigue. It lasts 14 days, but there are some that experience organ failure a few weeks later. You can carry it but show no symptoms. You CAN get it again. Good Lord! If ever we were in CRISIS it is NOW, TODAY! It will even be worse by September 7th or 14th or whenever congress comes back in session. Then the little they were going to send is going to be too little, too late! It's not that the money is going to cure everything. It is that the stimulus is going to make things a little better to deal with as well as help turn some parts of the economy around.
  • Patrick O'Neill
    Published 2 months ago
    How the West was Radicalized

    How the West was Radicalized

    As I signed my name on the ‘Locker Cleanout List’, I remember thinking to myself; I suppose I won’t see my friends for some time. By this time, school had been closed for a couple of weeks. A virus had appeared in our country and spread to my community a month prior and now we all had to finish the school year at home. Of course, unannounced interruptions to education were something that my generation had become accustomed to by this point.
  • Dennis McKonkie
    Published 2 months ago
    4 Ways to Support Your Country During Tough Times

    4 Ways to Support Your Country During Tough Times

    Most people would agree that the times are fairly troubling these days. And with it comes stress, worry, confusion or anger. One of the most important things you can do? Don't get stuck in it. Recognize that things will get better. Stand by your country and see it through, even on the hardest days. Along with hanging on tight to this positive outlook, there are other things you can do to show support and love for your country. Keep reading for four ideas to make a difference.