The vision for September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows was born when a small group of family members of those killed on 9/11 became connected after reading each others’ pleas for nonviolent and reasoned responses to the terrorist attacks. Several of these individuals met one another when they participated in the “Walk for Healing and Peace” from Washington, D.C. to New York City in late 2001 organized by Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness (now Voices for Creative Nonviolence).
In January, 2002 four family members traveled to Afghanistan in a delegation organized by Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange to witness the consequences of U.S. military action there and to express their profound concern that high numbers of civilian casualties would increase terrorist recruitment rather than making the U.S. or the world safer. This core group decided to unite in order to strengthen their message and voicePeaceful Tomorrows was launched as a project of the Fellowship of Reconciliation – USA in February 2002. Our name comes from a statement made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.” Dozens more family members joined in the following months. What these founding members shared was a belief that the violence that took their loved ones’ lives could spin out of control, and fear could be manipulated by politicians and the media to justify foreign and domestic policies that would increase violence while decreasing U.S. citizens’ rights and liberties over the years to come.